Survivor Spotlight

GailIn August, 1995, I moved my 18 year old daughter into her dorm room at college. It was a joyful day, one that I cherish, as we spent it laughing and giggling as we carried in what seemed like everything she owned into her new home. On February 22, 1996, I received a call from the Metro Chaplain and experienced the greatest tragedy of my life. My daughter Melissa was murdered in Nashville, Tennessee on 18th and Church Street. I did not know if I would survive losing my child. For some reason, something inside me said that I needed to right the wrong that had happened. I wanted to prevent this from happening again to anyone. I started speaking to lawyers, policeman, councilmen and eventually the Mayor of Nashville. I joined the Victim Intervention Program (VIP) through the Metro Nashville Police Department because I realized that I was hurting, confused and needed counseling to channel my energy in the right direction. This is where I met Verna. Verna had lost her best friend to homicide in 1994. I looked up to Verna as a mentor as she shared her experiences with me and helped to guide me in the right direction. Twenty years have passed since that awful day and I still depend on Verna and the VIP program for advice. In a few months, we will finally be able to have the trial for my daughter’s killer and with my recent retirement, I knew I wanted to do something that would continue to help others. Therefore, I have partnered with Tennessee Voices for Victims.