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Forty-one candles were lit in 2018 for the people who died in 2017 in Wisconsin from domestic abuse.  As I  stood at the Violence Intervention Project’s lighting ceremony, I watched each victim’s picture displayed on the screen. 

I waited for the picture of the victim’s candle I would light.  She smiled back at me.   I wondered what had happened to that smiling woman to make her become one of the abused victims who was killed.  Was the smile just for the picture? Was there pain behind her eyes?  I couldn’t tell.  All I know is that she became a victim of abuse.

Kewaunee County V.I.P. was started 30 years ago.  Thirty years ago a woman who worked locally was stabbed and killed.  At that time Kewaunee did not have an agency for abuse victims.  Women and men vowed they would create this agency for abused women, men, children, and all people of different races and sexual ideology.  V.I.P. can still be called upon for support.  Today there is a new board and a new staff to continue the work.

We call on the community to continue to support V.I.P.  Hopefully through our work and your support, we can decrease the number of candles we light in the future.

The 30th annual V.I.P. Dinner and Auction is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30 at JW’s Place, N5685 County Road E, Slovan. A 5:30 p.m. social will be followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets at $20 each or $36 for two can be obtained by calling the V.I.P. office at 920-487-2111.

Donna Thomas is a member of the Violence Intervention Project board of directors.