Abdalla receives Carrocci award

CHILD ADVOCATE — Fred Abdalla Jr. received the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award Saturday during the annual fundraiser for A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center. With Abdalla, center, are his father, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, and his mother, Edna. Abdalla has been the chief probation officer for Juvenile Court since 2005. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — Life came full circle for Fred Abdalla Jr. on Saturday when he was presented with the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award.

Carrocci was a longtime deputy at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, leading investigations in child abuse cases. After her retirement, she continued her mission to protect children by bringing together agencies and partners in the community to coordinate investigations. She founded A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center in 2002, where children can be interviewed and examined in sexual abuse cases.

Abdalla has been the chief probation officer for Juvenile Court since 2005, working closely with teens who have run into trouble with the law.

Abdalla said he first met Carrocci around age 4 when she was campaigning for his father during his dad’s first run for sheriff.

“Knowing her and her work, that award, named for Helen Carrocci, makes it even more special,” he said.

“Nobody does more for children throughout the entire county than Fred Abdalla Jr.,” said Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Corabi.

“Freddy has been the chief probation officer for juvenile court since 2005. He oversees the probation of every juvenile who is placed on probation at juvenile court. He helped implement the summer youth program, the community service program and has on numerous occasions, with the help of other probation officers, taken juveniles to baseball games, fishing and other events. While doing all of the above, he has somehow managed to find the time to become a certified court manager through the Ohio Supreme Court which required training and seminars.

“He also became a certified court executive through the supreme court, which was attained through education and training through the state.

“Most recently, in an effort to insure the safety of every student who attends school in Jefferson County, he has become an A.L.I.C.E. certified instructor (which trains school officials and students what steps to take in an active shooter incident).

“He has assisted local schools in their training to prepare for active shooter related incidents.

“Nobody has dedicated as much time to the juveniles of Jefferson County than Freddy,” Corabi said.

Abdalla said it was “humbling” to receive the award.

“Everyone nominated is a good person and does amazing work with kids. They were much more deserving. I’m humbled and honored because of what the award means. I look at the award as an award for the court,” he said.

Abdalla said he considers his fellow probation officers as family, adding everything that has been accomplished was a team effort.

Abdalla’s father, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, said he has people come up to him and say his son is supervising a family member or son or daughter of a friend on probation.

“They tell me what a wonderful job he is doing with their children. I am proud to have him as my son.”