Beckley Plants Pinwheels to Promote Child Abuse Prevention

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WOAY) – In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the mayor of Beckley and his office spent the morning spreading awareness.

To do so, Mayor Rob Rappold teamed up with Just for Kids to invite children from Head Start to help plant pinwheels in front of his office.

“April is the one month of the year where I’m going to be concentrated on being very aware of neglect and abuse in children,” said Rappold. 

The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention. It represents the happy childhoods all children should experience.

State troopers and the Raleigh County sheriff also came to the event to help the kids plant their pinwheels. They hoped the experience would help the children see them in a new light.

“A lot of the times, the kids are afraid of us,” said Trooper J. D. Dowdy. “This event shows kids [that] they don’t need to be afraid of us and anytime that they need hel,p they can always come to us for the help.” 

If kids are afraid of law enforcement, they may not feel comfortable coming to police officers for help, including in cases of child abuse.

“They are there at the drop of a hat to help with any situation that youngsters may not feel comfortable in,” said Rappold.

For almost an hour, the kids helped plant blue pinwheels in front of the mayor’s office. They had fun at the event, but they weren’t the only ones.

“It was exciting,” said Dowdy. “I absolutely loved it, and what an opportunity for us to be invited by the mayor and his office to allow us to come in here and be involved in this.”

The pinwheels will stay throughout the month. He hopes the display will inspire others in the community.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at