Committed to Caring
Along with making a commitment to raising a family in Battle Creek, Chris and Betty Christ also pledged to make a difference in the community. Chris says his immigrant parents were a big influence. “My parents were so proud of being in Battle Creek. They showed us the importance of building relationships.”
Among the countless charitable work the Christs have been involved in, Betty helped in the development and growth of Sexual Assault Services (SAS) beginning in 1996. SAS provides comprehensive services, counseling, support and advocacy for sexual assault survivors, and is partly funded by the Bronson Health Foundation. Betty says one of the organization’s milestones was the addition of a sexual assault nurse examiner program. The registered nurses provide physical and emotional assessment, collection of forensic samples, emotional support and resources. “It makes me feel proud to know that the victims are getting the help they need,” says Betty.
Chris, who was an assistant prosecuting attorney early in his career, knows the difference a program like this makes. “It’s very significant in changing lives,” says Chris, noting that “it provides a supportive influence for people who have experienced sexual assault.”
Recently, SAS expanded to provide services not only in Calhoun County, but also Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. The Christs encourage others to get involved and assure this valuable work continues. “There are still so many things to do,” says Betty. “People need to plug in and try to help.”