Lieutenant Andy Wilburn of the Radford City Police Department has won the “Why We Serve” grant competition presented Aftermath.
The grant of $5,000 was awarded to Wilburn for winning the video contest. The video was a short, three-minute clip, which explained Wilburn’s reasons for becoming an officer.
In his video, Wilburn talks about how he became an officer and his passion behind his work. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, Wilburn said he understands the challenges that can face a community as well as those who serve it. Wilburn was excited to hear the news after watching the voting polls every day during the competition.
“Our regional rep for Aftermath called and told me. I was thrilled and relieved all at the same time,” Wilburn said. “I knew we were going to be competitive. It had been shared so many times that I really believed we could win it. The Help Save the Next Girl folks rallied behind this effort and really pushed us to the front.”
Help Save the Next Girl is a national non-profit organization formed in honor of Morgan Dana Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who was abducted and murdered in 2009. The campaign is a grassroots project that focuses on education, awareness and responsibility.
Help Save the Next Girl’s goal is to continually develop vital relationships with media and law enforcement. The campaign believes that connections enhance their ability to quickly disseminate urgent information, such as a missing person notice.
Help Save the Next Girl also provides outreach support to victims’ families. The group believes media presence also promotes its mission to keep young women and campus communities alert to predatory danger.
Wilburn is heavily involved in the campaign and wants to use the grant money towards aspects of crime prevention in this regard as well as others. Some ideas Wilburn has are to use the money to focus on the educational part of crime prevention. This could include buying what is known as a “blog camera”— an $800 camera that Wilburn borrowed to shoot his video for the competition. This would help promote social media and awareness of crime prevention techniques that everyday citizens can implement.
Wilburn said he enjoyed the challenge of making the video and that he saw it as a responsibility to get the information out in the community, whether he won or not.
“I think getting positive messages about safety and responsibility out to the community on a platform they are already looking at is important,” Wilburn said. The video allowed for sharing across various forms of social media, which helped to get younger generations involved. “Connection with young people is different than older folks. Young people don’t read the paper, they don’t watch the news on TV and many don’t come to community events we host. We must reach out to them on their turf.”
Creating the video was a way not only to potentially win the grant money, but Wilburn saw it as a form of getting the message he wanted out into the community. When he first heard about the contest, he already had an idea in his head about the message he wanted to put out. He wanted to focus on the Help Save the Next Girl campaign and the principles of it.
“But I wanted it to be real,” Wilburn said. “I wanted a personal touch…You have to create a message that people can relate to and share with others.”
Wilburn said that making the video was fun because it was also something he was able to do with his daughter. He said that he filmed the community and recorded his thoughts and ideas and asked his daughter to help him put it all together.
While that aspect was enjoyable, Wilburn faced difficulties with cutting the video down to length. The contest requirements had a time-limit on the video which Wilburn said was based on students that showed people won’t watch longer videos. However, Wilburn didn’t comply with these rules and took a risk to keep his video longer.
“I refused because I felt that the message is more important than the money,” Wilburn said. “I still do.”
To watch for Wilburn’s submission visit, http://www.aftermath.com/why-we-serve/.