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Editorial: Kudos to those who help, knowing 'Abuse happens here'

May 21, 2011

Solemnity tinged with joy, or perhaps vice versa, helped define Thursday's celebration of Helping Hands Against Violence, at Springhouse Cellars Winery.

Tony White, one of three special volunteers recognized at the event, said "I'm happy to do all I can, I just wish there was no need for such a facility in this community."

The sentiment summarized the feelings of everyone at the event, attended by about 150 people.

Also honored were Jean Harmon and Mark Nilsson; see the May 25 edition for details.

Congratulations to all three of these dedicated people; it was Harmon who noted that their works are representative of the many people who volunteer for Helping Hands.

White regularly does maintenance and upkeep at the shelter, Harmon is a long-time volunteer who donates needed storage space, and Nilsson is an artist who has repeatedly donated large works of art for Helping Hands fundraisers over the years.

Besides providing a literal safe haven for abused women and their children (and pets) Helping Hands offers a 24-hour hotline and counseling, along with information and referral that continues after the victim and her children are safely settled.

"Abuse happens here," was the somber message repeated in an affecting video by Rod Parmenter that was screened at the event.

Helping Hands came into existence in 1978 after a domestic violence tragedy in Hood River. A small group of dedicated volunteers decided that the community needed to help women and children escape abusive situations to live violence free lives.

In the beginning, volunteers provided rooms in their own homes to women and their children whose lives were in danger. In 2000, the Chrysalis House was built. Helping Hands now employs five staff members and has fantastic volunteer support.

Not a day goes by that someone in the community does not need Helping Hands' services, and the organization is in need of donations. If you can help, go to www.helpinghandsoregon.com for more information.

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