First Step holds ribbon cutting at new location

| October 31, 2018

Vicki Laudick Casey, executive director of First Step Family Violence Intervention Services, is pictured preparing to cut the ribbon to officially open First Step’s new office. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Vicki Laudick Casey, executive director of First Step Family Violence Intervention Services, never thought the day would come to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in her own building.

“This feels so good,” she said during the ribbon cutting held Oct. 31 at their new location, 647 Locust St. “Thank you all for being here and believing in us.”

First Step supporters and community officials were welcomed to the ceremony by Kathy Bauman, president of First Step’s board.

“Thank you for coming,” she said. If it wasn’t for all of you we wouldn’t be standing here in this building. You will never know how much your support means to us. I also want to say thank you to Hathaway’s people for the job you did on this building and how amazing you were in working with us.”

Jill Lahna, board vice president, introduced board members, county and city officials and then Senator Jay Hottinger stepped forward to say a few words.

“First Step is all about trying to help families, women, and children who have a whole lot of hurts in their lives and turning those hurts into hopes,” he said. “Thank you for all you do on a daily basis to give families hope and help them have a better today and tomorrow.”

Coshocton County Commissioner Dane Shryock said he has known Casey since his previous career at the sheriff’s office.

“When she first started advocating for an organization like this she never dreamed of having a permanent home, but now she does because of her dedication and her board’s dedication,” he said.

Shryock also thanked the contractors who worked on the project.

“Some of them probably donated services and time and we are grateful to have those kinds of contractors here in Coshocton County,” he said.

Max Crown, the city’s safety service director, and Tiffany Swigert, executive director of the Coshocton Port Authority, both congratulated First Step on their new building and thanked the staff for what it does for Coshocton.

“It’s a blessing to stand here inside these walls,” Swigert said. “First Step’s staff really embodies what Coshocton is about. They have a love for people. We aren’t just a community here. We are a family.”

When it was Casey’s turn to speak she took a moment to honor Catherine Howard who gave them funding to start building on.

“When I first started she was one of my cheerleaders,” Casey said. “She never gave up on me and always told me she believed in me.”

Howard’s faith in and support of First Step will be honored with a special marker outside the new building.

Casey thanked her staff for standing by her during the transition from their home of 22 years, to a temporary location and then to the new office.

“They have been awesome,” she said. “They’ve listened to me cry, complain and get angry. I appreciate all of you.”

Casey also thanked Debra Wallace, Joy Padgett, Sally Bullens and Irene Miller for their leadership and support.

“They always had hope and that is what First Step is about,” Casey said.

For more on First Step, call 740-622-8504 or visit

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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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