It's been said some people will walk around the block with a person in need.

Alicia "Tiger" Tracy, a victim's advocate with the Community Crisis Center, takes it a step further.

"She'll walk the whole mile with someone," explained Susan Turrel, with the Community Crisis Center.

DeeDee Cox, executive director for the Community Crisis Center, agreed.

"You have a heart for victim services," Cox told Tracy. "You want them to have the very, very best.

"You've really matured into a wonderful advocate. I'm very very proud."

In July, Tracy was honored for her efforts by members of the Cherokee Nation Victim Services - One Fire - when she was named Victim Advocate of the Year.

This is the first year, One Fire officials picked a victim's advocate for the honor. It coincides with the annual Charles L. Head Day, which recognizes the late Charles L. Head, who helped start One Fire for the Cherokee Nation.

During the recognition ceremony, which took place at the Community Crisis Center in Jay, Nikki Baker Limore, director of One Fire, along with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, and others, gathered to present Tracy with the certificate and glass One Fire trophy.

Limore said she asked her team a question, when picking this year's advocate. 

"I said who do you work with that goes above and beyond," Limore said. "Who shows compassion, commitment, and collaborates together with us to provide help."

Limore said Tracy was an unanimous decision. 

About the honor

One Fire was developed by Charles L. Head, while he worked for the Cherokee Nation as Baker's Secretary of State.

Baker said Head came to him, after learning a close family member was involved in an abusive relationship.

"It blew him away, that it was happening right under his nose," Baker recalled. "Charles had a passion. We lost him too soon, but because of his passion, his proven interest and service, what he didn't recognize [in his family] does not continue in families today."

Baker said hundreds of women and children benefit from Head's idea - which through funding from the Cherokee Nation, eventually became One Fire, the victim's advocacy service.

His widow, Frances Head agreed.

"Charles just wanted to get help started, to see what resources were available," she said. "My husband had a passion not only for domestic abuse, but for all abuse. He was passionate about helping people. He had a big heart."

Frances Head said she's proud of her late husband's legacy, and proud the Cherokee Nation continue to funds efforts to help people in need.

The organization works with other victim services throughout the 11 county region, to provide partnerships to help those in need - especially those within a domestic violence situation.

Since the organization began in late 2012, early 2013, the number of clients helped through One Fire has grown. In 2016, the One Fire advocates worked with 233 victims. In 2017, to date, more than 130 have been helped.

Limore said at native women are two and a half times more likely to experience some type of sexual assault or abuse, compared to other races. She said at least one in three native women report being raped within their lifetime.

Kylie Girdner-Parnell, victim witness coordinator, said Tracy's "very optimistic, helpful" attitude made her a natural for the recognition.

"When I met Tiger, they told me her name, and I thought, you've got to be kidding me," Girdner-Parnell said. "But it's a very unique name, and it's very fitting. You are fierce, determined and ambitious. You are kind and thoughtful."

More about Tracy

Tracy, who resides in Grove, began working as a victim's advocate with the Community Crisis Center more than five years ago. Prior to joining the center, she worked as a volunteer sexual assault victim's advocate.

"I knew there was a need within our community," Tracy said. "I like to help people. I've been there, done that. I was there twice with two different partners.

"I knew [my knowledge] could help other women."

Tracy said from the minute a woman - or male - victim walks into the office, she starts by listening to their story.

"We help them muddle their way through a very confusing and scary situation," Tracy said. "[Many] think they are all alone, that nobody knows what they are going through. 

"They are embarrassed, they often feel betrayed by family and friends."

Tracy said she works to help the victim began to see hope, in the midst of the situation; helping assist the person with everything from legal issues to counseling. 

"We focus on the tasks that need to be fixed," Tracy said. "We go literally step by step."

Tracy said she is humbled to receive the first advocate of the year honor.

"The best thing about being an advocate is just being there for our clients," Tracy said. "We are there to listen and to let them know they are not alone.

"Advocacy is not for everyone. We don't do it for the money. You have to have a heart, and put yourself out there to help people - and love what you do."