A model truck showing a child abuse poster was presented Friday to Gov. Mary Fallin
|| Child abuse survivor sends large message in Oklahoma
by MICHAEL MCNUTT
January 14, 2012
A child abuse survivor who experienced how silence perpetuated the crime and the pain is using the biggest message board he has to raise awareness and to encourage victims to seek help.
Rodney Timms, president of Western Flyer Xpress, had the illustration of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy's “Protect Kids” child abuse poster wrapped on one of his tractor-trailers.
He's parked it in western Oklahoma City alongside Interstate 40, one of the busiest highways in the country.
The trailer, which is parked on the southeast corner of Rockwell Avenue and I-40, also features a thank you from Gov. Mary Fallin to people for helping combat and report child abuse.
Timms brought the rig to the state Capitol last year as part of Child Abuse Prevention Day activities; he'll bring the truck to the Capitol again for this year's event.
Timms, of Oklahoma City, said he had no one to turn to when his father beat him.
“When I was 15 he almost beat me to death,” Timms said.
He once told a preacher about it, but the preacher did nothing about it, Timms said.
“He was so afraid of my dad he never did anything, never told the authorities,” he said.
“Of course, back then there weren't laws to protect children,” he said.
Timms presented a model of the specially wrapped truck to Fallin on Friday.
Timms told the governor, who took office a year ago, he appreciated her efforts to make the state Department of Human Services more accountable.
The agency has been criticized for the numbers of deaths and abuse that have occurred to children under the agency's care.
Fallin last year appointed two new commissioners, who were placed in charge of two new committees that are reviewing child deaths and examining the organizational structure and oversight responsibilities of the commission.
“I am very grateful for all of the advocacy of Rodney's trucking company and all they're doing to spread the word that we have to protect the children of Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “We're working right now on restructuring our Department of Human Services to better protect our children and to make sure our system works and works well.”
“You're starting to make changes that we need,” said Timms, who also has the toll-free number of a national child abuse hot line — (800) 422-4453 — painted on the back of his 250 other rigs.
“They run all over the place,” he said.
Timms, 58, said he envisioned a bleak future for himself when he was 15. His father had abused him as long as he could remember.
“I wanted to be a contract killer because I was beaten so bad and it was so severe,” he said. “I thought somebody ought to die for what I went through.”
That changed when he met a girl and her family, who helped him shake loose bitter feelings.
“They were totally opposite anything I had been around so that helped save me,” Timms said.
“I probably lost 15 years of my life blaming myself for what happened,” said Timms, who also has written a book of poetry on the topic of child abuse titled, “Calling All Hearts.”
“Finally I just had a good sit-down with God and He said, ‘It's not your fault,' and I was able to move on from there,” he said. “It was tough.”
His life improved when he married the girl, Shauna, who helped him turn around his life.
“We've been married 42 years,” Timms said.
He and his father never reconciled. His dad died in 1983.
Timms advises children who find themselves in a similar situation not to do what he did and remain quiet.
“Tell somebody — a teacher, preacher, anybody,” he said.
“Don't endure it, because I promise you the pain from the physical beatings was the worst thing I had to deal with. It almost drove me crazy.”