Family Services of North Alabama welcomed the community to its Open House event Monday evening at the DeKalb County Health Department.

The non-profit organization offers “family strengthening” programs and serves sexual assault victims with exams and counseling. The FSNA home office is located in Albertville, but a secondary location was recently opened in Fort Payne in the health department.

The event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. allowed community members to tour the new facility and learn more about the newly offered services in DeKalb. The Spot Coffee Shop and Zaxby’s donated meals for participants and A Little Something Extra Ice Cream Truck handed out free treats, as well. FSNA volunteers and staff provided live music for entertainment and answered questions for those that attended.

County officials spoke to the crowd about the importance of the new, local office, including Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser, DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bob Johnston and FSNA Executive Director Sherrie Hiett.

FSNA has worked with the sheriff and the DA’s office to report and handle sexual assault related crimes throughout the county.

Welden said the sheriff’s office will support programs like FSNA 100 percent, and they are currently “crunching numbers” and working with the county commission to expand their investigation of child abuse and sex crimes.

“As of Oct. 1, we will be adding one more investigator for child and sex related crimesWelden announced for the first time at Monday’s event.

Johnston said the staff at FSNA has a passion for helping people through difficult situations.

“When you have an outfit like this whose sole purpose is to make lives just a little bit better, I think it all ought to make us a little more humble and more aware of our surroundings,” Johnston said. “I’m always impressed when organizations like this come into DeKalb County, and one of the things I’ve noticed about all the staff at Family Services [of North Alabama] is they have a passion for their mission and they have a compassion for people.”

Heitt said all the agencies present Monday have the same end goal for the community – to help those that are hurting.

“We have so much compassion for those that are hurting and to advocate for them and see their lives change,” she said.

Heitt thanked the other agencies represented, including Celebrate Recovery and The SAM Foundation.

The Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce also held a ribbon-cutting at the event to welcome FSNA to Fort Payne.

Family Services of North Alabama offer a Parenthood Program, Community Awareness, Co-parenting classes, Sexual Assault Support Services, Internet Safety, Lice Project, Youth Tobacco Prevention and Youth Suicide Prevention. For more information, visit familyservicesna.org or call 256-878-9159. For 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 for the Crisis Text Line.

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