CHIPLEY — In spite of the raging heat, a dozen teams showed up to compete in The Washington-Holmes Domestic Violence Task Force’s co-ed softball tournament held on June 15 to raise money to build a shelter for battered women and their children.
“We’re raising money because there isn’t a shelter within a hundred miles for a woman and her children to escape an abusive relationship,” said Missy Sword Lee, Family Intervention Program Supervisor with Habilitative Services of Northwest Florida. “It’s bad enough that they’ve found themselves in a harmful relationship, they don’t need to pack up their things, quit their jobs, pull their kids out of school and have to move all the way to Panama City to find assistance.”
The 12 teams that participated were Taylor Chiropractic, Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Children’s Advocacy Center partnered with Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Children and Families, LMC/Anchorage/BBCBC, three teams from First Free Will Baptist Church, Bonifay Athletic Club, Florida Highway Patrol, Alicia Brininger and the Bombers and Joel Patrick and the Seam Splitters.
“Rev. Luther Farmer of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, whose daughter was involved in domestic violence years ago and was murdered as a result, said the opening prayer,” said Lee. “Cody Boyette sang the National Anthem and Judge Colby Peel threw the opening pitch to Jake Zauner. A big thank you to Guy Lane and the City of Chipley for letting us use Pal's Park.”
First place went to Joel Patrick and the Seam Splitters, second place went to Chris Ellis and the Florida Highway Patrol, third place went to Dr. Mark Taylor and Taylor Chiropractic and fourth place went to Johnny Slay and Bonifay Athletic Club.
“The community donated some of the food, all of the prizes and several cash donations including a very generous donation of $400 from Holmes County Teen Court,” said Lee. “Several students from Washington County and Holmes County schools earned community service hours by working in the concession stand and umpiring games/keeping score. Bonifay Chief of police Chris Wells also helped umpire several games.”
She said that there were a lot of donated items to raffle to help raise money for the cause.
“Nicole Everson photography donated a photo session package valued at $600 and Trinity Martial Arts donated $500 worth of martial arts and cage fitness classes,” said Lee. “We were able to auction off items from Little Obsessions Boutique, The Silver Door, Southern Comfort Gift Boutique and Dashing Designs by Clarissa Moore.”
The Washington-Holmes Domestic Violence Task Force holds a regular meeting the second Thursday of every month, alternating between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Washington-Holmes Technical Center.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on July 11 at the Washington-Holmes Technical Center’s Student Commons.
In September they will visit Washington and Holmes County’s Board of County Commissioners with a proclamation acknowledging September as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In October they will hold a walk/vigil and a concert in memory of loved ones who have been affected by domestic violence.
Lee also said that she is looking for anyone who would donate their house or facility as a shelter, explaining that they could receive no state funding until the shelter was successfully up and running for one year.
“We’re a 501(c)3 not for profit organization and any donation is tax deductible,” said Lee. “If there was someone that could be so kind as to donate their empty home for a shelter it would be a tremendous blessing.”
For more information contact Lee at 850-596-3288, WashingtonHolmesDVtaskforce@yahoo.com or P.O. Box 216, Chipley, FL 32428.