Selah Freedom surprised supporters Oct. 4 with awards for their work fighting sex trafficking.
The organization's annual fall Rock the Boat fundraiser saw more than 200 supporters gathering at The Westin Sarasota's rooftop for a night of charity and recognition.
Co-chairman Marko Radisic, President and CEO Elizabeth Melendez-Fisher Good and Deputy Chief Pat Robinson kicked off the night thanking Selah Freedom's VIP supporters for their continued support and stressed the need for further action against sex trafficking. Robinson in particular spoke to the impact Selah Freedom has had on how the Sarasota Police Department prevents sex trafficking and helps victims.
"Selah Freedom has elevated us to the level we're teaching other law enforcement agencies, state attorneys and judges on the good work we're doing," Robinson said. "... We believe in it, in Elizabeth, these women's futures and this partnership."
Once the VIP hour had finished, guests spread out across the Westin rooftop to eat, drink, and participate in a live auction. The event raised $176,000 toward a $250,000 matching gift from the Pentecost family, for a total of $352,000.
Radisic and fellow co-chair Elizabeth Moore were surprised with a Champion Defender award and a National Champion Defender award respectively for their local and country-wide work advocating for Selah Freedom. Multiple survivor graduates from Selah Freedom's programs were given pioneer awards, as well.