COLUMBIA -- Victor Oyinbo was shot in the face by a man who robbed his cab during a deadly crime spree in 2003.
He remembers many nights during his long recovery when his then-8-year-old daughter, Finesse, came into his bedroom.
One night, "She said, 'Daddy, I was coming to check on you to make sure you're still alive,'" Oyinbo said.
Oyinbo, 44, told his story at the Victims' Memorial Garden at the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice's Broad River Road Complex.
Juvenile offenders recently planted 13 trees and shrubs in the year-old garden -- one for each category of crime, ranging from homicide to human trafficking.
Oyinbo, who drove a cab to supplement his pay as a DJJ probation officer, spoke directly to nearly 20 offenders in an annual ceremony that is part of the national observance of Victims' Rights Week.
He hoped offenders would realize the impact of their actions, but also that he would inspire victims.
"I've learned not to take anything for granted anymore because just as life is given, life can be taken."
Oyinbo was one of two cab drivers to be shot that night. A man was arrested and charged in Oyinbo's shooting. "I was the fortunate one to survive," he said.
More than 60 people attended the ceremony.
The trees represented growth and renewal, and ribbons tied around them during the ceremony symbolized healing.
State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd recalled, as a judge, paying special attention to three classes of victims -- the elderly, children and women.
The elderly are the foundation; the children, the future; and women bear the burden of nurturing the first two groups, he said.
The criminal justice system too often is talked about in dollars and statistics, he said, but "at the heart of it, it boils down to individual lives.
"This is about individuals. This is about real people."