Presenting our Final Legacy Society Honoree, Anne Bowen-Long

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Anne’s journey with PADV has been one of personal growth and healing.

After moving to Atlanta from Philadelphia in the early 90’s, Anne knew she wanted to get involved with an organization that helped victims of domestic violence. “I was raised in a volatile household and wanted to understand more about what that meant,” she said. “There is so much more to domestic violence than the violence itself. For me, fear and secrecy also shrouded my entire household.”

Anne has never been outspoken about her experience growing up, but knows she can help more people by having the conversation. “Domestic violence alienates people from their families and friends. There is a shame that surrounds it that is debilitating,” she said. “Through my work with PADV, I have been able to understand how unique each situation can be, and how to respond and offer help. I understand so much more now, and that understanding has propelled my passion for bringing the issues surrounding domestic violence forward.”

Anne began her PADV work as a volunteer, answering evening crisis line calls.  Later she joined the committee for PADV’s major fund raiser, the Hearts with Hope gala and silent auction, and ultimately was asked to join the board of directors.  She has served as board chair and is continuing her second term as director.

Anne credits the UPS culture of giving, and UPS affinity group Women’s Leadership Development, for the strong support that has enabled her community service.  In addition to her efforts on behalf of PADV, she has worked with Metropolitan Counseling Services, Ahimsa House, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and Women of Tocqueville – United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Her ultimate mission is to change the way people view and approach the topic of domestic violence. “I would like to see more companies educate themselves about the signals of domestic violence, and encourage an open environment where victims feel safe asking for help,” she said. “PADV has multiple programs to educate everyone from teens about dating violence, to the financial impact of domestic violence on corporate America. It is always reassuring when we see young people and companies attend our forums.”

When PADV invited Anne to join the Legacy Society, she knew it would be a great opportunity to continue her efforts. “It is an honor to be invited to join the Society,” said Anne. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue this vital work.”

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Welcome to the Legacy Society Mary Jane Wolfe!

MaryJane (resized)

Mary Jane Wolfe, our next PADV Legacy Society honoree, considers herself a “newbie” when it comes to her involvement with PADV. She has been active within the organization for three years and serves on the Gwinnett Advisory Committee.

“I was invited to a meeting by Sandra Strickland, but I didn’t know what it was going to be about. I went to the meeting not knowing anything and came away wondering how I didn’t know about PADV. One of the success stories from the shelter was there to speak to us. She talked about her entire experience with the Gwinnett Shelter. To hear about this local organization that is so pure and so good – I wanted to be part of it somehow.”

After that initial experience, Wolfe realized she needed to roll up her sleeves and give back to the organization that “grabbed her heart.”

“I wanted to get information out and raise funds for PADV. What I specifically did was bring it to the Women’s Club in Sugarloaf neighborhood. I brought my involvement down to something I could handle – getting the word out and getting funds. The Sugarloaf Women’s Club chooses three or four charities each year raising $20,000-$40,000 to donate to each cause.  We also send out information about that charity to the people of Sugarloaf. I am proud to say we’ve done really well.”

Wolfe decided early on that giving back fully to one organization was what was most important. Especially to a group that is in her backyard.

“The thing about people who live in Gwinnett County and the reason I’ve been able to get so much support for PADV, is this Gwinnett Shelter. People in Gwinnett are interested in helping anything having to do with Gwinnett County, and helping it grow. That includes the charities. The fact that one of the shelters is located here is great, and we are so proud of that. This is where we live, these are people we know, and these are people that might be able to help PADV.”

Wolfe’s dedication and cheerleader attitude towards PADV are main reasons she was invited into the Legacy Society. She is eager to grow with the organization and continue to build awareness for PADV.

“I’ve have only been with PADV three years. I am proud to be involved and I plan to be involved. I am looking forward to growing with the organization and learning how I can do more. I see where I can make a difference with PADV with some of the national charities you really don’t know if you’re making a difference or not, but here I can really see that trickle-down effect.”

We Want to Welcome Susie Trotochaud into the Legacy Society!

Susie

Susie Trotochaud, our next PADV Legacy Society inductee, has been involved with PADV for 16 years serving in various roles for the organization.

“My husband and I were looking for a volunteer organization for employees of his company to support, and we found PADV. I had heard of the organization before, known as The Council on Battered Women, and knew they did good work. The employees created a cookbook of recipes, titled “Humble Pie,” that raised $10,000 for the Gwinnett PADV Shelter.”

After that experience and learning more about PADV Trotochaud and her husband, Scott, became more involved.

“I am amazed by how many people are affected by violence in the home – it doesn’t matter your income, age or education. People often see a “face” of abuse, but there is no single face; it can and does happen everywhere. People should get involved because more people need help than you would ever believe. You can be in a room with 50 people and be amazed how many have been affected by violence.”

Hearing from the survivors along with her many years of work with PADV Trotochaud discovered what type of strength people have to come to PADV.

“I feel I am a pretty strong person. I am one of those people who always says this would never happen to me, but I’ve have met some pretty strong women with PADV. The strength it takes to actually get away and change your life. That is strength I don’t think I have ever had to find in myself. It is inspiring.”

Trotochaud was awakened to the kinds of people it takes to run an organization like PADV. It requires people who have either experienced the violence themselves or are willing to open their minds and their eyes to the realities of abuse.

“Hearing the stories of people who lived in the situations, survived it and were helped by the partnership, along with knowing what we have been able to contribute has made a difference for people. Those are my fondest memories.  We are happy to continue to do whatever we can to help PADV. We still know that any support we give the organization will make a difference and that is what we want to continue to do.”

Legacy Society Honors Scott Dorfman

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Our next inductee, Innotrac President, CEO and Chairman Scott Dorfman. Dorfman has served as a PADV benefactor for more than 16 years.

Dorfman and his wife, Susie Trotochaud, initiated their involvement after searching for an organization that improved the lives of children and families. Dorfman and Trotochaud describe the moment they came across PADV as a “love at first sight” situation.

“We were looking for an organization that we felt strongly about. We wanted to find people who needed protection or families that needed help. When Susie found the Partnership (PADV) we knew right away that this was the one.”

Throughout Dorfman’s 16 involvement with PADV, he has seen the organization’s transformation. One of his fondest memories centers on a cookbook that he and his wife compiled to benefit PADV.

“It was back in the days when the organization had very few donations being given. Susie and I called on our Atlanta employees to submit their favorite recipes, and we took that and turned it into a cookbook, “Humble Pie.”  With 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to PADV, $10,000 was raised.”

Through his initial work with PADV, Dorfman realized that the impact of the book showed what PADV could offer to those who needed help.

“Susie and I were amazed by the number of employees requesting more information about PADV for victims of abuse… someone they knew or themselves. I thought, wow, this is really crazy. We were just doing this because we believed in the cause – but here’s a group of 200 people who not only came to buy a book, but also came to get help.”

Dorfman was inspired during his time as a Hearts with Hope co-chairman where he met a survivor who told her story.

“I volunteered my home as a location for filming with a survivor. She was a woman from India and had been brought over on false pretenses. She had no rights here, and she had no rights in India. I thought she really didn’t have a choice. She was kept in the home and abused. She had no idea that she really could get free. The Partnership opened her eyes. She soon realized, I don’t have to do this.”

PADV’s mission and personal stories impacted Dorfman, who feels that domestic violence safe havens are vitally important to society.

“Those who are abused – children and adults need somebody out there as an advocate; somewhere for them to go. For every woman or child being abused, there are 20 more whom no one hears about. Someone must hear their stories and help them heal.”

Welcoming Julie C. Smith to PADV’s Legacy Society

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I am honored to have been invited to join the Legacy Society. Over the past seven years I have had the great pleasure of being involved with PADV and becoming more aware of the issues that so many women and men face each day.

My involvement with PADV stemmed from Verizon’s long-time dedication to community service. As the manager of Verizon’s external affairs and philanthropic giving for the southern region, I saw the urgent need to raise awareness of and build conversation about domestic violence issues. When I learned that one in every four women and one in every seven men are reported to be victims of domestic violence, I knew I had to do more.

I began volunteering with PADV and their “Domestic Violence in the Workplace” initiative, helping companies learn to identify signals of domestic violence. This is an important and potentially life-saving component of the work we do. When you think about how much time we spend in the workplace together with co-workers, you realize the vital importance of establishing a safe and trusting environment. You want people to feel comfortable to ask for help when they need it – sometimes desperately.

Some companies are doing a great job of this, such as Sykes Enterprises in Tampa. The senior leadership there has been proactively learning about the issues and signs of domestic violence, and have increased awareness within their employee ranks.

Unfortunately however, domestic violence often has the stigma of a topic not to be discussed. The stigma dissipates as more companies have the conversation, and experts like PADV are helping start that conversation.

Raising awareness about domestic violence has become my passion. The people we help are neighbors, co-workers, friends and loved ones.  As a result of my involvement some victims have felt comfortable sharing their stories with me, and it is a source of great fulfillment to respond and provide encouragement in their time of need. I cherish helping them, and am fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to do so.

To that end, both Verizon and PADV have encouraged me to stay involved and work toward the goal of changing the culture surrounding domestic violence. That is a critical step toward the ultimate goal of no domestic violence and no need for shelters. Because of employers like mine and wonderful charities like this one, I am confident that I will have the support to see this goal come to fruition.

Sincerely,

Julie

Julie C. Smith is the vice president of state government affairs and external affairs for Verizon’s southeast region. She serves on the corporate leadership council at the Fernbank Museum and is a volunteer member at Buckhead Church.

Legacy Society’s Own Cathy Adams

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As we look forward to bringing in another list of remarkable Legacy Society inductees, we’re proud to introduce an inductee from the inaugural list – Cathy Adams, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank of Atlanta). Cathy has given her time and energy to the Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) for more than 15 years, serving in a number of leadership roles. We are honored to have her join the Legacy Society. We spoke with Cathy about her work with PADV, including the ongoing relationship that FHLBank of Atlanta has with PADV. Here’s what she had to say:

How did you come to be involved with PADV?

I became involved with PADV about 15 years ago through Charlotte McRanie, who was the chairman of the PADV board and a close colleague of mine at FHLBank of Atlanta. The Bank has always been devoted to the PADV. A lot of people don’t know this, but PADV’s main office space used to be at FHLBank of Atlanta, which is indicative of our commitment to the organization. At the time, I was the human resources director at the Bank, and Charlotte would talk to me a great deal about hiring decisions for PADV.

In addition to business matters, Charlotte would often talk to me about the spirit of PADV. I learned about the challenges and what the organization was accomplishing. Domestic violence is a crime, and I didn’t fully believe or comprehend that at first. I thought we would help women find courage, and that’s part of it, but it’s also about the sacredness of home. Home should be a safe place. When you don’t have that, it comes before everything else.

Initially, I got involved with PADV because my corporation was involved. It was only after I got involved that I had a pretty significant transformation. In 2000, Charlotte McRanie transitioned off of PADV’s board and asked me to trade positions with her as a member.

Why did the issues become important to you?

I was very inexperienced being on the board of a nonprofit organization, so I went to every fundraising event and gathering PADV offered. I also visited the two shelters. I’ve heard many people mention that they cried when seeing the new Gwinnett Shelter because they were in awe of its beauty. I remember pulling into the driveway of the old Gwinnett Shelter and crying because it was so pitifully sad.

That was my moment of clarity, and I thought to myself, “We can do better than this.” I desperately wanted to create a safe alternative for these women and children. In that moment, something switched in my head and in my heart, and I realized the seriousness of this issue and the importance of the work.

There’s such a huge legacy for how the new Gwinnett Shelter came to life. It took years and years, and I’m proud to have been a part of the early work to transform that sad shelter into something magnificent.

Were there any major movements that happened during your time as PADV board chair?

During my time on the board, we were in the middle of the worst recession that many of us have ever known. At PADV, the demand for our services was going up and our ability to supply those services consistently was extremely challenging. When families are depressed and unemployment is high, the pressure exacerbates a lot of the factors that contribute to violence.

Part of our challenge as a board was that we had grown rapidly, and we were doing very programmatic things which were helpful, but we didn’t have as much experiential knowledge. As board chair, I established a governance board committee to help us do our jobs in the most efficient way. This reconnected the board to the people we were serving. I also added “a mission moment” to start board meetings with someone’s story, a picture or something to reconnect our meeting to the mission and remind us of the real reasons we were there.

Another important thing that happened during my time as board chair was that we changed PADV’s mission statement. Instead of saying domestic violence, we changed the words to intimate partner violence – because this happens in all communities at all levels. We also changed the statement to emphasize that domestic violence is criminal act. Previously, we had not come out using that kind of strong language. Our revised mission statement is something I’m proud of.

Current Mission Statement: PADV works to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors.

How are you involved in the organization today?

What I do today is focused on making sure FHLBank of Atlanta continues to support PADV in every way. The Bank often provides space for committee meetings and night and weekend volunteer trainings. It’s a big deal to us, and it’s a contribution on behalf of the Bank. We also do an enormous amount of print work for the organization in terms of advertising, newsletters, event invitations, brochures, etc. And now, we have Sharon Cook on the board of PADV, and she has the full support of FHLBank Atlanta. Anything that the Bank can do to help her, we will.

People who have worked closely with PADV say that their experiences with the organization resonate with them in other areas of life. Has your work with PADV impacted aspects of your everyday life and/or work environment?

There used to be a time where if people didn’t come to work, they got fired. After working closely with PADV, I asked that we add a domestic violence policy to our employee handbook to provide a level of services and understanding, because we don’t want to penalize someone who’s a victim. The employer has a responsibility to become a part of the solution, not add to the problem.

My work with PADV has helped me be very careful to not form conclusions based on superficial indicators. There’s almost always an important story, and we have to take time to listen and be open. My experience at PADV has helped me to live up to my aspiration of always being patient and willing to lend an ear. If there’s a kinder, gentler, more patient Cathy, that’s who I want to be, and PADV has helped me get there.

What are some things you feel are important to growing and maintaining the legacy of PADV?

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t hear a news story about domestic violence. I believe PADV has to maintain a strong presence and get the word out to our community. People have to connect the dots. Domestic violence is a pervasive mix of psychological and physical abuse, and we have to pay attention.

Sheryl Sellaway

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Sheryl Sellaway

In recognition of our 25th Gala, we are launching the PADV Legacy Society. This society will honor people who have graciously given their time, energy and resources to shape PADV into the life-changing organization it is today.

Our next inductee, Verizon Wireless Executive Director of Public Relations Sheryl Sellaway, is a woman of many hats. Over the past 10 years, Sellaway has served PADV as an active board member, chair, vice-chair and executive committee member. She began her PADV journey through Verizon, a company with a long-standing commitment to domestic violence.

“One of my employees was looking to get us more involved with the organization,” Sellaway said. “That year we sponsored Hearts with Hope. It all began there.”

In addition to Hearts with Hope, over the years Verizon has also been an annual sponsor of the PADV’s Domestic Violence in the Workplace conferences and hosted employee drives to collect items for the shelter.

“Over the years, we’ve seen Domestic Violence in the Workplace as a great opportunity to address the issue and prevention—and serve as a beacon for other companies,” Sellaway said.

Upon joining the Board of Directors, Sellaway was able to equip her co-workers with tools to address domestic violence and show internal and external support for the issue. She credits PADV for the knowledge she gained about domestic violence.

“I started going to the workplace conferences and heard more and more stories,” Sellaway said. “I’ve always had empathy for the issue, and yet  the conferences  have served as a place where I could gather more information. And, publicly support an issue that is not often discussed publicly. Remember, the average person will go back to an abusive situation several times. Most people don’t understand that. Sharing the knowledge, along with safety tips has been helpful.

Domestic Violence does not stop at home, according to Sellaway. The emotional distress can follow victims to the workplace. She charges companies to take action.

“Let’s focus on prevention and eradicate domestic violence long-term, while encouraging survivors,” Sellaway said. “We want to see a long term drop and we want to encourage victims to be survivors—some within our own company. Sellaway also believes, at times,  the media has desensitized the severity of domestic violence.

“Most people don’t think about how serious an issue is until they watch a tragedy on the news,” Sellaway stated. “Sometimes we trivialize violence because of the way women are treated in movies, music and entertainment. These attitudes can formulate in peoples’ minds on how women are supposed to be treated.”

Support, knowledge and compassion are three qualities Sellaway says the community should possess regarding domestic violence.

“Seek to be actively involved and not a bystander,” Sellaway said. “You are showing empathy and compassion by acknowledging the problem. You don’t have to be survivor to support our mission, but a person who cares about the lives of children and families.”

Kelly Barrett

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Kelly Barrett

In recognition of our 25th Gala, we are launching the PADV Legacy Society. This society will honor people who have graciously given their time, energy and resources to shape PADV into the life-changing organization it is today.

We ask that you consider nominating an individual who has significantly impacted PADV’s progress and development to be a member of our inaugural class. The nomination form can be found here. Once you complete the form, please email it to Meagan Fulmer at meagan@padv.org.

Board of Directors member Kelly Barrett is our next inductee. She has served PADV for a total of six years, devoting two years to the Hearts with Hope host committee and four to the board.

“I am so humbled and honored to be asked to join the Legacy Society, “ said The Home Depot Vice President of Internal Audit and Corporate Compliance. “There are so many great people who are dedicated to PADV. I am very impressed with the level of commitment towards our mission.”

Genevieve Bos, a close friend of Barrett’s, first introduced her to PADV.

“Genevieve was on the Hearts with Hope steering committee and asked me if I would serve on the host committee,” Barrett explained.  “After a few years, I was asked to join the board. I enjoy the whole notion of helping women.”

Barrett believes it is her civic duty to give back to women who are less fortunate.

“One reason many women don’t leave abusive relationships is because they don’t have the financial support,” Barrett said. “For somebody like me who is fortunate, I felt like I had to share my opportunities. Working with PADV is very empowering.”

After viewing the new Gwinnett Shelter for the first time, Barrett experienced another empowering moment.

“As I pulled into the driveway, I saw how beautiful the shelter was and I just started crying,” Barrett said. “Imagine if you were a woman in a domestic violence situation … to arrive at this safe haven, see that gorgeous facility and finally feel safe. We toured the inside and after the meeting I just started crying again. I thought to myself, ‘This is what it’s all about. We are fulfilling our mission.’”

While working with PADV, Barrett’s eyes were opened to how many people are affected by domestic violence not only in their personal lives, but also in the workplace.

“Domestic violence is a difficult subject to talk about,” Barrett said.  “I now understand the importance of being supportive and providing a support system.”  

Barrett has also gained several meaningful relationships through service. She cites her bond with fellow Board members as another rewarding result of her PADV experience.

“We have been through a lot together,” Barrett said. “We have all worked hard to support and strengthen the organization. I will always cherish and value the relationships I made through PADV.”

Susan Carini

Susan Carini

Susan Carini

In recognition of our 25th Gala, we are launching the PADV Legacy Society. This society will honor people who have graciously given their time, energy and resources to shape PADV into the life-changing organization it is today.

We ask that you consider nominating an individual who has significantly impacted PADV’s progress and development to be a member of our inaugural class. The nomination form can be found here. Once you complete the form, please email it to Meagan Fulmer at meagan@padv.org.

Our next inductee, PADV Board Member Susan Carini, started her journey of service as a crisis-line volunteer.

“Six months after working the hotline, a woman called,” Carini recalled. “As a teen, she was taken captive by a boyfriend, sexually abused and damaged. Many years later, on the eve of getting out of prison, her abuser already was threatening her through text messages. She had had no contact with him for 20 years. “I’m not by nature a person who cries with strangers, but I was so moved. The fact that she had the strength to get through the first incident and continue to deal with his harassment moved me. I will never forget that woman’s story.”

It was through this experience that Carini realized the impact of her volunteerism. At the beginning of her work on the crisis line, she sometimes doubted her ability to handle such a pivotal role.

“You can imagine what comes through the other side of the phone and what it was like to hear the women’s stories,” Carini said. “You have to be quick on your feet because you could cost someone their life. [Working on the crisis line] made me understand that so many calls are genuine cries for help. These are women showing strength by saying, ‘Okay, now I need a little help.’

Carini was first inspired to lend a helping hand after a conversation with Emory colleague Samantha Engle.

“I’ve devoted a lot of time within Emory’s walls to issues affecting women, but I wanted to venture out and do more,” said Carini, the executive director of Emory Creative Group. “After I spoke with Samantha, she connected me with PADV. She also has a very strong interest in work advancing women and a great respect for how the organization was run.”

Through her hands-on attitude and dedication to PADV’s mission, Carini was invited to join the Board of Directors. Carini now has served PADV for a total of seven years.

“Without a doubt, my experience with PADV has changed me,” Carini said. “I have a great love of animals and for a long time would not give to charities that didn’t support animals. Then PADV came along and changed my perspective. PADV taught me to open up parts of myself that had not been open. I found a new road for my compassion.”

Susan Berryman Rodriguez

Susan Berryman Rodriguez

Susan Berryman Rodriguez

We’re pleased to reveal our second PADV Legacy Society Inductee: Susan Berryman.  Employed with PADV as its Media & Community Relations Director and ascending to Vice President-Communications before leaving the agency after more than 10 years of service, read more about how the public relations professional created value-based messaging that framed the root causes of domestic violence while exhibiting compassion for the women and children PADV serves.

It’s difficult for a person to engage as either a staff member or a volunteer without having a connection to the cause. What was the connection that drew you to employment with PADV?

As a feminist I’m deeply committed to fighting for women’s rights and equality.  In my worldview, intimate partner violence is the ultimate form of gender oppression.  There’s a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that says, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If a woman can’t be free and equal in her own home, how can she be free and equal anywhere else in the world? 

What were some of the challenges PADV faced when you started your tenure?  How has that changed?

PADV didn’t have a volunteer program, website, annual report, newsletter, much media coverage, public events to raise awareness, media and communications policies, crisis communication plans, strategic communications plans, media and advertising partnerships, or a way to honor and celebrate the courage and strength of domestic violence survivors. PADV has all of these things now to help engage the community and recruit new donors, plus a solid, strong legion of the best volunteers in Atlanta.

Your nominator credited you as the brainchild for many of PADV’s signature programming events (“Silent No More Candlelight Vigil”, DVIW”, “DV Survivor Speaks Out”).  What was your inspiration behind these programs?  

My inspiration came from the women and children we served. I recognized that there was a great need to help the community understand that domestic violence was about power and control, and survivors aren’t weak victims but strong women surviving every day.

What do you believe is PADV’s greatest legacy to date?

Three things! PADV’s first greatest legacy to date is providing a safe haven for thousands of women and children and offering them a new lease on life.

PADV’s second greatest legacy is to the community through its annual DVIW conference. Financial security is essential to a battered woman’s ability to break the cycle of violence.  A woman can find safety and anonymity in one of PADV’s safe havens, but if she works outside the house, her batterer knows where to find her.  This puts her and her co-workers at risk of injury and even murder.  And yet, no one was talking about how domestic violence follows women to work.

Too many survivors were getting fired because of their situation; employment offers them a way to escape the abuse and become self-sufficient. At the time, there was no other organization focusing on this important workplace issue. With the generous support from Rich’s (now Macy’s) and Verizon Wireless, PADV has been hosting this event for more than 10 years.   The DVIW conference also offers an excellent way for PADV to engage the corporate community. 

PADV’s third greatest legacy is its annual Teen Summit.  Teaching young boys and girls to respect each other and to treat each other as equals is the best solution to end domestic violence.

Our works, deeds and actions formulate our legacy.  Looking back on your body of work, what do you believe is your greatest legacy?

I made certain that the women and children served by PADV were at the center of all of our communications. Their stories needed to be told. Their victories needed to be celebrated, and their strength and courage, recognized. Establishing the Purple Heart with Hope Award was just one of the many ways I did this. I hope that by giving domestic violence survivors a platform to share their stories, I was able to help them reclaim their own empowerment knowing that they were inspiring others with their courage and determination.