The 20th annual Jefferson County Courage Walk held April 20 drew more than 200 participants and among them were survivors of violent crime and family …
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The 20th annual Jefferson County Courage Walk held April 20 drew more than 200 participants and among them were survivors of violent crime and family members of murder victims.
Also participating were victim advocates volunteers, professionals, and organizations that support them.
“I always like to start this with recognition of the victims. And there’s been a lot of them in this country this year,” Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink said at the start of the walk.
Participants walked from the Jeffco district attorney’s office to the Courage Garden that is located beside the county’s courthouse and administrative building in Golden.
Among the walkers were Jean and Bert Stahl, the grandparents of Heather DeWild, who was killed by her husband in Edgewater 10 years ago.
Earlier this year, the husband, Daniel DeWild, was sentenced in a Jeffco court to 74 years in prison for her murder.
“We wanted to honor Heather, and the other victims. Everybody here has something in common,” Jean Stahl said. “Victim advocates are absolutely on the beam about everything. They were there for us with anything we ever needed.”
At the garden, County District Attorney Pete Weir addressed the crowd, asking for a moment of silence in honor of the many “community rattling events” of recent months, as well as older incidents.
The day marked the 14th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in south Jefferson County.
The ceremony also included words by the Rev. Charles Adone, chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, and Jane Pemberton, former executive director of Family Tree.
Pemberton shared her personal story about getting herself and her children away from an abusive husband.
“I know that many of the brave survivors here can also say that in the midst of your pain and trauma, a few kind words really can make all the difference,” Pemberton said.
The event raised $3,548, which will be used to help fund victim advocacy programs in the county, and as direct monetary assistance through the district attorney’s Victims in Need Fund.
Courage Walk Co-Chairs Bette Gomez and Courtney Hill both said they were thankful for the ongoing support of the county, law enforcement, and the victim families to keep the event going for so many years.
“It’s huge for Jefferson County victims to know that there are people out there who will show up, who care,” Hill said.
To become a volunteer victim advocate, contact the sheriff’s office at 303-271-5339.
If you are suffering from domestic abuse, call the national hotline number 1-800-799-7233.
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