It has been a huge year for us! We have gained recognition in leaps and bounds. People know who we are, what we are about and what we hope to accomplish. I realize that even threw all of our hard work, there is still not any cases solved, and although we do get discouraged, believe me, we are not giving up hope. There will be a light at the end of this tunnel and there will be closure for families. We are also going to expand into other counties and hopefully help out some families there too. It has been a great year and it is just the beginning! the following is a recap of events. If you were there, hopefully, it will bring up fond memories. If you were not there, maybe this year you will be.
As ALWAYS- a special "Thank You" to Kim.
Kim, you are a pain in the butt sometimes and have been known to make me do things that I don't want to do.....but overall- you are an amazing human being and I would be so lost without you! Thank you for giving a damn about me and all of the other 25 families & for constantly fighting for what we believe in! Love ya!
Here we go;
April 26th- went from 9 am to 3 pm to Giant Eagle for our 1st outing. It went really well. We were a little unsure at 1st and then people started coming over to the table to see what we were all about and after that, we were hooked!
May 26th- went to Thompson Park Big Give. We were stuck way in the back and felt for the entire 5 hours that it was a huge waste of time. Turns out though that it was a huge day for us. Although we didn't find that out until almost a week later. Turns out that a friend of the Morris family took one of our flyers on Linda & Angela and passed it on to the family. (This family has since been a huge help to us including giving me this laptop that I use everyday for the CCFHV! Thanks Rhoda & family!)
June 14th, Pottery Festival- Another huge day for us. We were caught in a huge thunderstorm, that it turns out happened to Kim and I alot during the year! We met and had photos taken with East Liverpools finest police, Janet, Barb and Cassidie all helped out. We also met a man that would eventually turn out to be one of our greatest assets by the name of Craig Brown. (Our current County Recorder)
July 12th- Salineville Salt Festival- Great memories of this one. Kim took me there kicking and screaming because I was so sure that it would be a huge waste of time, but again, I was wrong. It was sticky hot and there weren't alot of people there and then the parade ended and John (Linda Morris' brother) showed up and knew everybody in Salineville, I swear! Craig Brown was also there and we met 2 people that outing that would remain very important in our organization. The 1st was Marian Spack who is a volunteer for Craig and one of the sweetest people I know. She has volunteered to help us out anytime and has been a great friend to me personally always providing support to the CCFHV and she thinks I'm awesome, which is an asset in its self!
The second person we met was John Soldano who is the current Chief Of Police in Leetonia and has become a great friend to Kim and I over the past few months.
Also Kim and I got caught in a horrible storm that nearly took our umbrella! Were drenched! Good Times!!!!Great pix!
July 27th- Political Picnic for Craig Brown- Craig invited us to this picnic (apparently, we were suppose to pay a $25 fee per person to help him with his campaign but we didn't realize that til later. Sorry Craig)
While we were there, Linda Bolon came in and talked to us for quite awhile. She was also present at out last support group meeting although it took me awhile to realize this! She has since been to almost every event we have had. She gave me some great ideas! I was really glad I went. We also met Ryan that owns the Steel Trolley.
July 29-Aug. 3- Columbiana County Fair. This was the absolute hardest time we had all year. From 9am to 11 pm everyday and night Kim and I ran that booth basically by ourselves. Steve and Shelly stopped by once and Barb & Sheena came twice, but that was it as far as the families went. It was very hot inside and very stressful! Emotions were flying high towards the end of the week for both of us and we bit each others heads off a few times. I still wouldn't change it for the world because it turned out to be our 1st real introduction to politics, political people, and the very best part for us is that in just this short amount of time, we had already built a name for ourselves and people knew who we were! It was awesome! Craig brought us balloons every single day and covered us with Craig Brown stickers. He is a really sweet guy and always makes me laugh. I also met Craig's Mom and Dad. They are really sweet also- explains him. Good upbringing. John Soldano came up to see us at the booth everyday. We also had our 1st meetings with Ray Stone and Adam Booth. Ray spent over an hour talking to me and it was nice to express my concerns to him and give him the chance to see what we are all about. It was amazing. We had suddenly become important. People wanted to meet us. It was great! It also became the first of many instances that we were placed beside Greg Shaffer who was running for Commissioner. Apparently, they didn't know where to put either one of us, so they always put us together!
July 30th- Vigil For Linda & Angela Morris & Earl Tweed- 35 years after the brutal triple murder, it remains unsolved. It was really nice to see that people still do care and came out to show their support!
August 9th- Wellsville Italian Festival. Another event that I didn't want to go to. I had heard from a lot of people that Wellsville was one city that did not like us and did not want us there. Kicking and screaming again, I went and it also turned out to be a great night! 1st and foremost- the people of Wellsville are awesome! They welcomed us with open arms and we sold more t-shirts than at any event all year prior to then. Shelly, Steve Roberts and Sherryl Jackson were great. People really responded to us there and we are so grateful to them and glad we went.
August 16th- Salem Italian Festival- This was one of those events that we could not afford to attend ($75 for 2 nights) We did go walk around on Friday night though and visit our new political friends and when we were leaving, Craig told us that he wouldn't be able to be there on Saturday due to a prior engagement (his Mom would be there instead) and that we were welcome to use 1/2 of his table to set up if we wanted. Kim had a ghost walk scheduled for Saturday so myself and Barb Davis went and set up. (Thanks Craig) It was very eye-opening for us. We really thought that Salem would be very responsive to us and of all of the cities we have been at over the past year, the people of Salem were the least responsive of all. We sat there for about 6 0r 7 hours, we received $11 in donations, sold 1 shirt to one of the Stone sisters (who are also very supportive and have to came to every event. We love them!!) And received more nasty mean comments than anywhere else in the county. For some reason the usually generous town of Salem wanted nothing to with us! We did encounter 2 different Police Officers that were working the festival that were very nice and supportive to us!
August 23rd- Our Candle Light Vigil- An amazing evening. Someone from almost every family came and shared their stories. It was the personally rough for me because I had a terrible cold and couldn't really talk but Kim did awesome! The families had no reservations about getting up there in front of everyone and sharing their grief. That is so hard to do! People just don't understand how it makes you feel to put yourself in such a vulnerable situation. Tears streamed down my face (and everyone else's) for the better part of the evening. Craig stepped in at the last minute for us and provided the opening prayer and was amazing! That is why we love him so much! He always comes threw for us! It was also extremely hard on Kim and I because right before we left my house to go to the vigil, I received an email with the very 1st picture we had ever received of 3 year old Dalton Springer, which as most of you know, this case has effected me like no other case. There is something very wrong when a beautiful little 3 year old boy can be treated so cruelly and die in such a horrific way! It was a rough night but we got some press in the papers and hopefully anyone that was not a family member that attended walked away with a much better understanding of what we go threw on a day to day basis.
September 5 & 6th- Columbiana Street Fair- One of favorite events of the year! The people in Columbiana were so warm and kind to us! We were in the big white tent and I received a great gift from a very nice lady that approached us. I did not get her name but she came up to me and asked if I was the one that started this organization and I said yes. She smiled at me and said that she did not know any of the victims personally but wanted to just give me a hug and tell me how glad she was that we are out there. That was one of my greatest moments! Finally! To have a complete stranger say that to me meant everything!
September 19th- Candle light vigil for Craig Roberts- We had a vigil for Craig down at the gazebo in Wellsville. John Soldano gave the opening prayer which was very personal and moving. Steve and Shelly Roberts and entire family were there. It was very hard on them to be surrounded by so many memories of Craig everywhere they go in Wellsville. He really was a huge part of that town. Right down to building the exact gazebo that we held the vigil in! The Stone sisters came to that one also. It is really nice that there are so many people that stay constant in our lives.
September 20-21st- Johnny Appleseed Festival- Another one of our favorite outings! Maybe I am biast but the people of Lisbon rock! We had so many people come over and talk to us. Everyone was extremely positive. we received tons of tips and leads from people that we turned over to police and walked away from there feeling like we had accomplished something!
October 4 & 5th- Beaver Creek Harvest Days- We were treated like royalty here. The people that put this thing on are really amazing! We had a beautiful spot right in front of the pond and again, we received a lot of tips. Several tips on Tracy Hill and also Michael.
November 4th- Democratic Party- A great night. I drank a bit too much but other than that...... That was a very exciting time for us. Kim, Barb, Sheena, Marian, Matt, Adam, and me. I have never ever been involved politically before with anything and after spending the whole year practically getting to know these people, it was very hard not to be emotional. I can't even express how exciting it was to be there each and every time the results came in. We held our breaths, and cried for both people that won and lost. Politically, it was very personal for me. (I'm not sure that those 2 words should ever go in the same sentence together) Because of the line of work we do and having some of these people become our friends in the process, it was hard on us especially the losses. then to see others win and know what that means to us as an organization, as well as seeing our friends shine, was something I hope I never have to go threw again as long as I live! LOL!! Since that time though, I will say that I have also learned a lot about the old term "Dirty Politics" I was made promises that have since not happened and have been made some that have. I have learned that there are "True-Blue" people out there that do believe in us and have proved that over and over and that some people told us crap that was just not true in hopes of gaining our votes. Either way, it was eye-opening.
December 12-13th- Thompson Park Circle of Lights- Kim and I again were out at Thompson Park for 2 nights. We set up the lights on Friday for the start of the event and also gave out cocoa and cookies on Tuesday in the freezing cold. (I also caught my coat on fire on a heater) Ah memories!!!!
Along with the above listed we also set up at Roger's Sale almost every Friday all summer long.
We gave out over 5400 business cards overall and have had enormous response to the blog.
We are already gearing up for next year. New shirts now with 26 names! A far cry from our original 7 that we started out with.
We received hundreds of tips and had a chance to debunk at least that many rumors.
We are in fact working and we have no intentions of going anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!