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Community members honored for helping victims of crime

| April 27, 2015

COSHOCTON – You don’t have to let your past determine your future.

That was the message delivered by Kimberly Williams at this year’s Crime Victims’ Rights Week Luncheon held April 21, at Grace United Methodist Church.

Williams and her family grew up in a world filled with domestic violence and child abuse. As an adult she now shares her story so people know what a life like this looks like, sounds like and feels like for a victim and to show victims that they can break their chains and become survivors.

“When I was two my mom married the scariest monster I’ve ever known,” Williams said. “He beat us daily and used whatever he had in his view to do it.”

When her mom finally got the courage to take Williams and her siblings and leave it was too late. Her stepfather found them within a couple of days and ended up murdering Williams’ mother and her grandmother. He also shot her uncle before Williams was able to call the police.

“I was saved when I was 15, but I still hated him so bad,” she said. “It took a lot of prayers, but with God’s help I was able to forgive him.”

When Williams turned 18 she decided she had to see her stepfather face to face in order to know that she really had forgiven him.

She was able to face him and also find the courage to help keep him in prison when he was up for parole.

“I forgave him, but I’m still very much afraid of him, but no matter what you go through in life you don’t have to let it be your future. Also, no matter what you may think, you are worth something. If you’ve experienced child abuse or domestic violence there is help out there, you just have to ask for it and seek it.”

Several people in the community who have given their time to help victims of crime were honored after Williams’ presentation.

One of the individuals honored for outstanding service on behalf of crime victims was Detective Tom Couts. He started with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office in 1995 and has worked as a corrections officer, road deputy and done security at Coshocton Common Pleas Court. Couts became a juvenile detective in 2013 and moved to being a detective in 2014.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working in the same building as Tom and have seen his upbeat attitude and dedication to doing a thorough and accurate job,” said Emily McBurney from the prosecutor’s office. “The community has benefited from having him on our side.”

Maureen Karl also received an award for her work with First Step.

“She has selflessly given to our organization and helped us get donations and grants, one of which will help us add a fire escape to the third floor of our shelter so we can expand our services,” said Kathy Bauman from First Step’s board. “I know she is very humbled by this award. She does so many things for so many people and it’s not to be recognized. It’s because she truly cares about other people.”

Katy Hunt also was recognized for her work with First Step as a shelter worker and legal advocate.

“Thank you for the time you spent with First Step,” said Megan Philabaum, who works at First Step.

First Step Executive Director Vicki Laudick presented Leadership of Coshocton’s 2015 class with a plaque for the work they did at the shelter house.

“Each of them is awesome,” Laudick said. “We’ve had our shelter 15 years and it needed some painting, carpeting and trees removed and they gave up their weekend to do that for the people who live there. I can’t tell them how much I appreciate what they did. I’m a graduate of Leadership myself and it’s a great program. We’ve had other groups support us in the past, but this group went above and beyond.”

The awards portion of the luncheon wrapped up with Jim McVey, First Step Perpetrator Group Facilitator, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“He made the program what it is today and is helping with our goal and focus of stopping the violence,” Laudick said. “He’s gone way beyond the call of duty. We so appreciate the time you have given us and all you have done for our community.”

She also encouraged those in attendance to share Williams’ stories and greet victims of violence with open arms.

“If you don’t, they might not come to us again,” Laudick said. “We need to be open, supportive and helping.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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