Vagina Warrior Celebrated: Tribute to Barbel Adkins, 2004 Vagina Warrior, Troy, Ohio
V-Day organizers from Troy, OH honored Barbel Adkins, a compassionate leader in their community at their 2004 V-Day event. Upon her recent passing, organizer Libby Scancarello asks that we all remember her work. Clearly, Barbel was a remarkable woman who can inspire us all with her beautiful dedication and compassion. Following is Libby’s tribute to Barbel:
Tribute to Barbel Adkins, 2004 Vagina Warrior, Troy, Ohio
On June 29, Barbel Adkins, our 2004 Vagina Warrior, lost her battle with heart disease. She was only 62.
Born in Germany in 1943, Barbel Adkins served as a Deputy Sheriff in Miami County, Ohio, in the late1970’s. At the time, victims of domestic violence had to be kept temporarily in jail for their protection. Barbel recognized the need for a better solution. In 1979, with financial assistance from local churches, schools and civic organizations, the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County was established.
In 1989, Barbel expanded services to assist victims by establishing the first batterer’s intervention program in Miami County. This anger/rage education program, called “Alternatives,” works to assist batterers in acquiring new, non-violent ways of dealing with stress and anger. This program is heavily utilized by the Municipal Court System, the Children’s Services Bureau, and many other agencies.
In 1991, Barbel further expanded the shelter program to include the Buckeye House, an emergency shelter for men. Both shelters operate 24/7.
Over the years, Barbel has added new services such as court-based advocacy, counseling and transitional housing. A licensed social worker, Barbel was a well-known lecturer in the state of Ohio and authored many articles on Domestic Violence. She received numerous awards for her work and continuously worked to develop training programs and brochures for law enforcement officers, educators and medical personnel in her on-going quest to end Domestic Violence.
In 2002, Barbel participated in the V-Day event in Dayton, Ohio. She read “I Was There In The Room.” She had just witnessed her own granddaughter’s birth and her reading of that monologue in her beautiful German accent was profoundly moving.
In 2004, Barbel again participated in V-Day, this time in our hometown of Troy, Ohio. She was our Vagina Warrior and she felt honored to be chosen. It meant so much to her to bring The Vagina Monologues to our small town and she was surprised and delighted by how successful we were. She was very proud of our production and the amount of money we raised for the shelter and she spoke of it often.
Barbel often said that her work was a mission. Last year the shelter took in more than 800 people. Barbel turned away no one. I happened to be visiting the shelter one day when a woman arrived from several states away asking for shelter. She brought only what she could get in her car and had been driving all night. She spoke only Spanish. Barbel quickly found an interpreter and determined what this woman needed. “Of course you may stay; you’re safe here”, Barbel said. The woman nearly collapsed as the weight of worry and fear was removed from her. I watched in awe as Barbel hugged the sobbing woman and then, with tears running down her own face she hugged me and said, “I always cry. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this, I always cry.”
This amazing warrior woman had a great respect for all living things. Only one week before she died when she was not feeling at all well, she took a little bird with a broken wing to an animal rescue shelter. The world has lost a great soul, a loving humanitarian. Barbel Evelyn Marklein Adkins. She will be sorely missed.
Libby Scancarello, organizer, V-Day Dayton 2002, V-Day Troy 2004