BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Domestic Violence Awareness Month is winding down, but people in Bedford County are still showing strong support for survivors. They held a vigil Tuesday night and also marked a major milestone: Bedford Domestic Violence Services 20th anniversary.
Community gathered with purple candles in hand. Remembering lives lost from domestic violence and supporting survivors.
“It rips your soul out,” said Diane Bush, domestic violence survivor. “I lost my heart.”
Tuesday night’s vigil included a walk to honor those affected, but also celebrated services made available in the community to help.
“We get calls almost on a daily basis of individuals who are in crisis who for whatever reason, they're fearful for their lives” said Amanda Page, Case Manager for Bedford Domestic Violence Services.
BDVS is busy now, but some attending the vigil remember a time when there were no services.
“If I'd ever gotten the opportunity to found a program for advocacy I would do so,” said Leighton Langford, Former Director of Social Services. “Well it took me quite a while.”
Fast forward, and Tuesday night Langford joined the community in celebrating the program's 20th anniversary.
Local artists made mosaics special for the occasion. Thousands of tiles are used in the artwork, forming a purple ribbon, butterfly, and words like “courage” and “hope”. Page says they want the mosaics to serve as a reminder to anyone passing by on the street that this is an ongoing process.
At the end of the ceremony, people released purple balloons. Some people released the balloon for a loved one. Others in the crowd, for people they have never met. And for a few attendees, it hit even closer to home.
“So you know who I released it for? Freedom and maybe my soul back,” said Bush.