December 21, 2014

Elyria
Mostly clear
30°F
test

Family, friends of domestic violence victims hold vigil

Mea Nieter, 7, of Lorain, writes a message for her brother-in-law, Damis Crawford, 29, with her mother, Leigh, at Lakeview Park on Friday. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Mea Nieter, 7, of Lorain, writes a message for her brother-in-law, Damis Crawford, 29, with her mother, Leigh, at Lakeview Park on Friday. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The family of Margaret McCoy huddled together Friday night, taking turns writing the words “Grandma Marge” on several helium balloons that then floated away into the sunset over Lake Erie at Lakeview Park.

It was an emotional evening for the family of Jeff Bruce, whose mother was Margaret McCoy, a victim of domestic violence.

McCoy was a court advocate for the Genesis House and supported survivors of domestic violence. At one point in her life, she was a victim of domestic violence but after marrying Virgil McCoy, she was happy once again.

No one thought her own husband would be the one to kill her. But on April 15, 2011, her husband shot her in the head before turning the gun on himself. Her son, Jeff Bruce, found his mother dead in the mobile home she shared with her husband.

“It’s rough to deal with this,” Bruce said Friday night.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week began Sunday and officially ends today but that doesn’t mean people should forget about those who have fallen victim to domestic violence or other violent crimes.

041114_VIGIL_KB01

Kathy Nagel releases balloons into the sky Friday at Lakeview Park in honor of many of the women she has met during her time as a licensed counselor working with Abigail Ministries leading support groups.

On Friday, a candlelight vigil was held at Lakeview Park that hopefully created a spark to create a change.

Virgina Beckman, executive director of Lorain County Safe Harbor/Genesis House, said the vigil allowed community members the opportunity to come together to honor victims’ of crime and their families.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Victims of Crime Act.

“The support from the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime for the 2014 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week activities will help us help crime victims,” Beckman said. “Members of our community are encouraged to help promote justice through service to crime victims by joining our 2014 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week activity and supporting victim assistance programs throughout the year.”

Lorain police Capt. Tom Mize said it’s emotionally difficult to see this type of violence over and over again when people should be learning from every event.

“I have learned that prevention in the key. If we can teach our kids growing up and to be a model to our kids, that we should not fight with violence,” Mize said.

Mize said he is familiar with some of the 35 names of the Silent Witnesses that local law enforcement officials displayed within the park.

The Silent Witnesses represent the women murdered in Lorain County from 1989 until now.

“As officers, we never forget,” he said.

Candles were lit for those who lost their lives to domestic violence during a vigil.

Candles were lit for those who lost their lives to domestic violence during a vigil.

And families of victims never forget either.

As the sun began setting, family members of Catherine “Kat” Hoholski sat together in the park.

It was the first time the woman’s family came together during a public event to let others know the pain they have endured since her death in June 2012. Hoholski was killed and dismembered and her boyfriend Albert Fine has been charged with the crime. She was 26 years old.

Hoholski’s 2-year-old daughter, Jasmine Rose Hoholski, happily bounced on her grandpa’s lap during the vigil. Ken Hoholski’s face remained stoic.

Before the vigil began, he signed a balloon in his daughter’s memory that read, “Kat, We Miss You! Be with us Always! Love, Dad.”

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.