Foes of domestic violence saluted

Caring House and law enforcement officers lead ‘Break the Silence’

Members of the LongRiders Motorcycle Club took part in the Caring House’s Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence event Tuesday, starting at the Dickinson County Courthouse. Caring House Director Cheryl O’Neill, on the center bike, received a ride from one of the members.\ (Marguerite Lanthier/Daily News photos)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Caring House had its annual Break the Silence event Tuesday, starting with a procession of vehicles sporting purple ribbons and honking horns for domestic violence awareness.

The procession ended at First Covenant Church, to honor officers and members of the community. The theme this year is “Every Child Deserves a Safe Home.”

A tearful but happy Caring House Director Cheryl O’Neill thanked all the law enforcement officers for their attendance.

“You may not know how important your presence is. This message (of you being here) will go a long way on working to help others,” O’Neill said.

As a domestic violence survivor, O’Neill said abusers try to make their victims silent.

A procession of vehicles sporting purple ribbons for domestic violence awareness leaves Dickinson County Courthouse on Tuesday.

She thanked the LongRiders Motor Cycle Club of Iron Mountain. “These guys make Christmas happen for the Caring House.” After receiving their certificate, members of the group gave O’Neill a check for $2,500 toward this year’s Christmas at the Caring House. She was also happy to get a lift on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the ride through town.

The Children’s Hero Awards went to Iron Mountain School Resource Officer Adam Ray and Kingsford School Resource Officer Matt Brouillette. “They make such a difference,” she said.

She credited Ray for helping students learn “that officers are good people.”

She said Brouillette “goes many times way beyond being just there to make sure kids are safe.”

Dickinson County Probate Court Chief Judge Thomas Slagle was recognized as well. O’Neill said of Slagle, “I don’t know where to begin. He has served on the Caring House board and done fundraising.

When I have an issue and need child advocacy, he does whatever he feels he can do. I feel so fortunate he’s in office. He has saved so many children,” she said. “He tells me ‘I have to follow the law,’ but doesn’t stop with that. He works diligently, works to make the changes.”

Dickinson County Probate Court Chief Judge Thomas Slagle receives his Children’s Hero Award from Caring House Director Cheryl O’Neill at the annual Break the Silence event Tuesday.

Slagle said he was blessed with “a great family, great daughters.”

I’ve lived half my life in this community.”

He said he has been honored to work with so many people — police departments, mental health, Department of Health and Human Services and others.

He said is was a “pleasure to work with all those that care so much for the children in this community. Look at how far we’ve come. It still happens. There was just a brutal case. All of you worked very hard against that.”

Slagle added it felt awkward to be honored and the focus should be to remember the victims of domestic violence.

Selena Gonzalez, Caring House Wisconsin child advocate, ties a ribbon on a vehicle.

“The fight’s not over,” he said. “Keep fighting.”

Marguerite Lanthier can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 242, or mlanthier@ironmountaindailynews.com.


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