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TEEN CALLED ROLE MODEL AT RALLY FOR VICTIMS' RIGHTS.

Byline: Michael Coit Daily News Staff Writer

Facing a crowd gathered in the Ventura County Government Center courtyard to mark Victims' Rights Week, a Ventura teen paralyzed by a 9 mm bullet said he was glad to be alive.

Kevin Natale, 16, is confined to a wheelchair and has limited movement of his arms. Despite the adversity, the once active athlete said a supportive family and crime victim advocates have given him strength to make the most of life.

``I thank God that I am alive because of days like this, when I can sit out in the sun and go to the beach and watch the waves,'' said Kevin, a Ventura High School student with aspirations of a career in sports broadcasting. ``So hopefully, in the end, everything will work out.''

Kevin joined officials with the county District Attorney's Office to recognize outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims in Ventura County.

Honorees were Child Abuse and Neglect Inc.; Oxnard Police Officer Michael Trotter; Linda Oxenreider of the Ventura County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving; and Shelli Broms as the county's outstanding volunteer victim advocate.

The awards program is one in a series of events during the annual Victims' Rights Week. This year's theme is titled ``Take a Step to Tip the Scales.''

The man who shot and paralyzed then-13-year-old Kevin after forcing his way into the youth's home was sentenced to life in prison in September. Brian Trent Adams, 23, was sentenced after Kevin pleaded for the maximum penalty.

District Attorney Michael Bradbury recognized Kevin's efforts to recover from the January 1994 shooting.

``We respect your courage for being here and the role model you are for victims everywhere,'' Bradbury said.

TOP ADVOCATES The Ventura County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday recognized outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims in Ventura County. The following individuals and groups were honored.

Child Abuse and Neglect Inc.: The private nonprofit group was recognized for its work in providing volunteer mentors for abused and neglected children in the county. The organization operates the county's version of a national program, known as Court Appointed Special Advocates. Volunteer mentors work with some 11,000 county children who are reported abused or neglected each year.

Oxnard Police Officer Michael Trotter: The officer was recognized for working with crime victims as coordinator of his department's domestic violence response team and as a member of the county's domestic violence task force. Trotter now is involved with Oxnard's community policing effort.

Linda Oxenreider of MADD: The Camarillo woman was recognized for her efforts as a founder and current president of the Ventura County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Shelli Broms: She was recognized as the county's outstanding volunteer victim advocate. The county's Victim Services Division relies on volunteers to assist a range of victims. For more information about volunteer opportunities, phone (805) 654-5056.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 25, 1996
Words:485
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