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BOWLING GREEN Yesterday s long-awaited opening of the Cocoon Shelter, Wood County s first battered women s shelter, came too late for women like Lisa Hurt.
Three years ago, Ms. Hurt, who was 31, was stabbed to death by her estranged husband, Fred Gonzales, in her Weston, Ohio, home.
Still, Robert and Barbara Hurt are hoping their daughter will be a permanent part of the community s effort to provide a safe place for abused women. They have lent her name to an endowment fund created to help provide ongoing financial support for the fledgling shelter.
I m glad she s a part of it. It is a memorial, said Barbara Hurt. We re going to try to keep her name going.
Lisa s father, Robert, concurred. It means she is not going to be forgotten, nor are the other ladies who were killed, he said. Maybe this step today is going to help some other young ladies and women in the future.
With a backdrop of six silent witnesses silhouettes of local women who have died at the hands of an abusive husband or boyfriend Dr. John Coates announced the creation of the Lisa Hurt Memorial Endowment Fund during the Cocoon s grand opening ceremony at the Wood County Courthouse.
It is the dream of every board member that we will soon become unnecessary that Bowling Green will be free of domestic violence, Dr. Coates said. But we must prepare for the exact opposite There must always be shelter.
Michelle Clossick, executive director of the Cocoon Shelter, said the board of directors hopes to raise $25,000 for the endowment fund. It will then use the interest from the account to help pay for operations at the shelter.
If anyone still has any lingering questions about the need for the shelter, I can tell you our first residents are moving in this afternoon, Ms. Clossick told the crowd.
The shelter s location is not being disclosed, but officials said it is equipped to house up to 10 women and their children. The site was donated, and the shelter received a number of other donations and grants, including a $35,000 grant from the Toledo Community Foundation, to get its doors opened.
Mary Krueger, president of the Cocoon board, suggested that community members interested in supporting the shelter make a donation to the shelter or its endowment fund, help fill the shelter s wish list, which includes things like gift cards, phone cards, and gas cards, support its fund-raisers, or simply try to change stereotypes about domestic violence.
People wonder why battered women do not call police or get a protection order, she said, when in fact many do and still they are murdered.
When you hear people say Why didn t she just leave him? think of Lisa Hurt who was murdered in her home in front of her children after she left him, Ms. Krueger said.
The Hurts are now raising their daughter s three children, ages 6, 8, and 13. They described Ms. Hurt as a good mother, daughter, and nurse. She had gone back to school to earn her nursing degree and was working at a retirement home in Pemberville, Ohio, when she was killed.
She was a great person. She loved her children. She loved her job, her mother said. She was a very vibrant person. She really was.
The Hurts said they do not know how to stop domestic violence, but suggested that stiffer, mandatory penalties for domestic violence offenders might help.
A safe place for women to go is an important step, too.
I m sure glad it s happening, Mr. Hurt said. I think it s going to make a difference.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-353-5972.