KEEPING VIGIL: The Founders Of The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KEEPING VIGIL: The Founders Of The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

Posted: Updated:
Bill Bialkowsky and his wife talk to KHQ's Stephanie Vigil about opening up the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Bill Bialkowsky and his wife talk to KHQ's Stephanie Vigil about opening up the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery
  • Also on KHQ.comMore>>

  • Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery: Helping Families Of All Kinds

    Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery: Helping Families Of All Kinds

    Tuesday, October 8 2013 10:49 PM EDT2013-10-09 02:49:38 GMT
    The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane is a respite for parents who have nowhere else to turn – parents like Tom and Jeri McCormick.>>
    The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane is a respite for parents who have nowhere else to turn – parents like Tom and Jeri McCormick. Together, they have three grown kids and are almost in their sixties. At this age, they never planned on raising another child, but life had different plans. "We had to keep her, we fell in love with her," Jeri told KHQ's Kelsey Watts, of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Jaylynn.  >>
  • When It Becomes Too Much, The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Is There

    When It Becomes Too Much, The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery Is There

    Saturday, October 6 2012 2:23 PM EDT2012-10-06 18:23:22 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Staff at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery say the majority of parents that come through the doors have good intentions, but are perhaps struggling financially or might just be emotionally overwhelmed.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Staff at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery say the majority of parents that come through the doors have good intentions, but are perhaps struggling financially or might just be emotionally overwhelmed.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. -
32 years ago Spokane was shaken by a devastating news story. A 2-year-old named Vanessa Behan died from severe child abuse by either her mother, or step-father. Neither would testify against the other, so no one ever paid for the crime.  

The news disturbed many, but it hit Bill Bialkowsky especially hard. The young father himself was driven to make a difference, and with his wife was beside him every step of the way, they founded the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.

"She had a broken wrist, fractured skull, numerous cigarette burns and hair pulling trauma. In addition to the injury inside her," Bialkowsky told KHQ's Stephanie Vigil as he recalled Behan's tragic story as if it happened yesterday.

"I couldn't imagine anybody doing that to a helpless child much less one of your own. It disturbed me a great deal and Janie suggested if you're this disturbed about it why don't you do something about it." 

And so he did. Modeling after a crisis nursery in Phoenix Bill went to work, and on the anniversary of Vanessa's death the crisis nursery opened it's doors. 

"From the very first days that we opened I think we served 400, 500 children the first year. I think we do that every month now," Bialkowsky said.

Times have changed since Vanessa's death , and the need is so much greater now .

"So many of the people that come to the nursery are young, unmarried women who are essentially children themselves. They have absolutely no parenting skills. They don't understand what it takes to nurture a child successfully. They get to their wits end and they run out of rope," Bialkowsky said.

Stephanie asked Bill during his interview, "What do you think Vanessa would think if she looked down upon you now and seeing what has become of her tragic death?"

Bialkowsky replied, "I go over and talk to her about it every once and awhile. She's very proud. Her sister, her grandfather and other members of her extended family have been to the nursery, have given us talks in the past, and they have expressed extreme gratitude that her memory is being served so well."

The Vanessa Behan Crisis nursery is a respit. The staff is made up of volunteers that nurture children ages 0-6. In addition to the care they provide, the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery holds classes on parenting and other support services. Look them up at www.vanessabehan.org

If you have a story idea for Keeping Vigil, message Stephanie on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KHQStephanieVigil
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • NEW INFORMATION: High Drive brush fire believed to be human caused

    NEW INFORMATION: High Drive brush fire believed to be human caused

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:58:17 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Tuesday evening the Spokane Fire department announced they had a likely cause for the High Drive brush fire: humans. The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 3pm on the west side of Spokane's South Hill between Qualchan Golf Course and High Drive. By 6pm it had grown to 30 acres and moved to within 75 yards of several homes on High Drive.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Tuesday evening the Spokane Fire department announced they had a likely cause for the High Drive brush fire: humans. The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 3pm on the west side of Spokane's South Hill between Qualchan Golf Course and High Drive. By 6pm it had grown to 30 acres and moved to within 75 yards of several homes on High Drive.>>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:03:06 GMT
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Wauconda and Tonasket. The fire broke out on Tuesday, July 29th and is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews are attacking this fire from the ground and air.
    >>
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Wauconda and Tonasket. The fire broke out on Tuesday, July 29th and is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews are attacking this fire from the ground and air.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:01 AM EDT2014-07-31 07:01:36 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane.. >>Details on manhunt inside>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane. >>Details on manhunt inside
    >>
  • Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:55:05 GMT
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.
    >>
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.

    >>
  • Q6 CARES: Air Conditioners and what you can do to help prevent them from breaking

    Q6 CARES: Air Conditioners and what you can do to help prevent them from breaking

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:01:06 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Before you crank up your air conditioner to its coolest setting, it's a good idea to make sure it's working properly. On Wednesday KHQ spoke with a maintenance tech, Justin Holyron, who works at RR Heating and Air Conditioning about some things you can check before calling in the experts. >>VIDEO INSIDE>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Before you crank up your air conditioner to its coolest setting, it's a good idea to make sure it's working properly. On Wednesday KHQ spoke with a maintenance tech, Justin Holyron, who works at RR Heating and Air Conditioning about some things you can check before calling in the experts. >>VIDEO INSIDE
    >>