Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
More than two dozen men sauntered, strolled – even limped – a one-mile course through downtown Jacksonville in heels Saturday, matching the amount raised last year alone for the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties.
“Each year, we see (Walk a Mile in Her Shoes) growing,” said Crisis Center Executive Director Donald Hammock. “The first year, (the Jacksonville and Palestine events) raised a little over $9,000. Last year, both counties raised a little over $25,000. This year – just from the Jacksonville walk – so far we've raised a little over $25,000, and we're still getting pledges in.”
The increase in public support helps off-set waning government funding of the crisis center, and “it is very pleasing to see the community step up and helping with victims,” Hammock said. “One day, an ideal situation is that that we will not (have to) rely on grants, (but) that the community is able to support the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties.”
Calling Saturday's event “a great turnout” in both the number of men – 28 – who made the one-mile trek in unfamiliar footwear as well as the strong support from the community, Hammock said that the turnout “shows that people have become more aware of the violence taking place against women and children and are willing to stand up and say, 'We're not going to tolerate anymore.'
“Many of the guys went above and beyond because people are starting to realize that these types of crimes can happen to their family members,” he said.
“And without the support victims get from the crisis center and through other law enforcement agencies, without all of us working as a team, those offenders are not held accountable.”
On Saturday, the second part of the fundraiser kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Palestine Regional Medical Center.
To sponsor a Palestine participant, contact the Anderson County coordinator Roger Pharr at 903-723-5858, or Hammock at 903-586-9118.
Individuals also are encouraged to support participants by attending the event and cheering them on.