FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence on Wednesday celebrated individuals from around the state who prevent domestic violence in their communities.
A San Juan County group was among those honored with awards, which fittingly were given out during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Four people and one group were recognized during the ceremony at the Farmington Civic Center.
One of the recipients, sixth-grade student Brandon Bishop of Artesia, raised funds by doing tasks such as mowing lawns to purchase school supplies and other items for children in Grammy House, a shelter in Artesia that houses women and children fleeing domestic violence situations.
"For someone your age to get involved is just wonderful," said Pam Wiseman, executive director for the Santa Fe-based coalition, as she presented Bishop with his award.
Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts said that Bishop's accomplishment serves as an inspiration for community members of all ages."It's particularly rewarding to see young people get involved in the community," he said. "It sets a great example not only for their peers, but it also sets a great example for adults."
The other award recipients were:· Mary Domito, who provides survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Taos with furniture and mattresses from her Taos Lifestyle store; · Carl Parsons, who provides free plumbing services to a domestic violence shelter in Ruidoso; · Betty Highland, who provides school supplies, backpacks and uniforms to children in a Valencia shelter; and · San Juan Open Committee, which was nominated by Farmington's Family Crisis Center. The San Juan Open Committee organizes the annual San Juan Open Golf tournament held at the San Juan Country Club in Farmington. For the past 11 years, the committee has named the Family Crisis Center as the tournament's beneficiary. Committee members also help the center with outreach and labor on projects, and they help furnish rooms at the shelter.
At Wednesday's ceremony, Wiseman spoke about the effect domestic violence has on both individuals and communities.
"I think domestic violence could be at the core of the worst problems we have, such as substance abuse, poverty, low school performance and homelessness -- these are some of the consequences," she said. "Most of these problems could be solved if we could focus on the root cause of domestic violence within our families. That's why we all work so hard."
Roberts listed some of the statistics associated with domestic violence, including that one out of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. He also said that nearly one-third of female homicide victims who are reported in police records were killed by an intimate partner.
"I've heard many poignant and compelling stories, including one from a domestic violence victim who talked about the consequences the violence had for her life and the path she had to take to return to a normal life," he said. "It's not an easy path, but the path wouldn't even be possible without the advocacy of these nonprofit groups. Good things happen in communities because those who care give of themselves, and it makes me proud that we have folks in our community who care."