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Orange County Focus

Countywide : Hot-Line Benefit to Feature Ex-Hostage

April 14, 1993|GEOFF BOUCHER

Journalist and former hostage Terry A. Anderson will speak Thursday night at a fund-raiser in Anaheim marking the 25th anniversary of the Orange County Hotline Help Center.

Anderson, 45, will discuss his 2,454 harrowing nights as a captive of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon, an ordeal that ended when he was released in December, 1991. Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, spent more than six years in dank cells, often chained and blindfolded.

The Hotline Help Center handles about 1,750 calls a month, ranging from questions about AIDS to reports of sexual abuse, center director Marvin Sellers said. Drug users, runaways, child-abuse victims and battered women are among those who turn to the 31-member volunteer staff for help and referrals.

Plans to expand the service, which operates from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., to a 24-hour operation and to add the county's first Spanish-speaking hot line will require more money for the already strapped service, said Agnes Taylor, president of the Trinity College board of directors. The Anaheim-based college houses and funds the center.

"Although everyone right now is a volunteer, to have someone come in at 2 a.m., we almost feel like we have to pay them something," Taylor said.

The volunteers, who receive 60 hours of training before handling calls, are often psychology students seeking master's degrees at Trinity, Taylor said. Hot-line counselors can be reached at (714) 778-1000.

Actor Joseph Campanella will host the Thursday night event, and the St. Brigid Gospel Choir and the University High School Key Club will perform. The anniversary celebration at the Grand Hotel in Anaheim will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available at the door. For more information, call (714) 639-3962.

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