The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 24, 2013

Event calls attention to domestic violence

Kelly Urban
kurban@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — No one has the right to love you to death.

It’s that slogan that continues to inspire the third annual Walking In Her Shoes event that was created as a way to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Master Sgt. Gregory M. Jones, a former Johnstown resident who currently is stationed in Hawaii with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, founded the organization in May 2011 after his cousin Tasha Veney was murdered by her children’s father outside a Prospect day care center after she dropped the children off.

“We want to bring awareness to the streets,” he said. “When people see you out there doing something, and when they know resources are available, they are more likely to seek help if need be.”

This year’s event will be held July 6. Participants will gather at 9 a.m. at Greater Johnstown High School and walk to Central Park in downtown Johnstown, where speakers will address the crowd.

The featured keynote speaker will be Johnstown attorney Pamela J. Mayer.

Music will be provided by two local artists.

Representatives from the Johnstown Police Department, Cambria County Coroner’s Office and Women’s Help Center also will be participating in the event.

“We’ll open it up to family and friends who want to say something and express their thoughts,” Jones said. “We need to talk about domestic violence because this doesn’t go away in a year or two. We need to keep going because when we forget things tend to happen again.”

Following the program, a basket raffle will be held, with all proceeds going toward domestic violence awareness initiatives.

Transportation will be provided back to the high school.

Jones said about 100 people attended the event last year and he expects more this year.

“This is an epidemic, and domestic violence knows no color, financial barrier or educational background. It affects everyone,” he said. “We want people to speak up. If you see something, then speak up, because if you do you can save a life.”

For more information, call 253-363-1345 or visit www.walkinginhershoes.org.

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