VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
A local police officer and a local business were honored Thursday evening at the 12th annual Dove Candlelight Ceremony.
The ceremony, which remembers victims and survivors of domestic violence, was held at the First United Methodist Church in Shelbyville. Dove, Inc. is an agency which helps abused women, children, and men by offering shelter and counseling assistance.
“Many times victims feel they are walking down the road alone. I hope they can see they are not alone,” said Shelby County Dove director Susie Kensil.
Kensil noted that statistics show that an average of three women across the country lose their lives each day due to domestic violence.
Shelby County State’s Attorney Deborah Riley was keynote speaker for the event.
“Luckily in Shelby County we have police officers who are trained in domestic violence and we have Dove to help the victims,” Riley said.
Riley added that her office takes domestic violence cases seriously.
“In my office, I cannot dismiss a domestic violence case even at the victim’s request,” she said. “We must teach our children that it is not right for people to commit acts of domestic violence.
Awards were presented to Shelbyville Police officer Paul Bennett for his and the departments work in helping victims in domestic violence situations.
“We’re lucky to have a lot of officers who are very good with victims,” Kensil noted in presenting the award. “They have compassion for the victims and firmness in dealing with the abusers.”
Walmart was also presented an award for their Christmas program that, through a grant to Dove, helps children buy gifts for their families and for themselves. The store employees “shop” with the children and help them wrap gifts. They also host a party complete with refreshments and Santa.
“The employees go over and above with their time,” Kensil noted.
The program grant has been given to Dove over recent years.
Leslie Winfield, assistant store manager, accepted the award on behalf of Walmart.
The focus of the ceremony was the lighting of the candles for the victims and survivors and the candlelighting ceremony in support of those involved in domestic violence.