Cromwell, CT (WTNH) - Nearly one week after the state responded to two murder-suicides, one town put out a clear message that domestic violence is wrong.
Today 100 men committed to putting an end to domestic violence were honored at an event in Cromwell.
Anita Ford Saunders, President of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, summed up her mission in one word, "normal." Her hope is that all men and women may lead normal day to day lives without the recent tragic scenes involving police and pain.
"I had a wonderful life," Saunders said. "My family, my husband, that was normal for me."
So, as in her position as President, she was proud to make the first-annual breakfast possible. The event was called "The First 100," referring to the first 100 men in the state to be recognized for their commitment to serving victims of domestic violence. Most importantly, minimizing the violence.
Among those recognized by US Senator Richard Blumenthal, were News 8 Anchor Keith Kountz and Assignment Editor Ken Margolfo. Speaker of the House, Chris Donovan, was awarded the "Coalition Crusader" honor for his work to establish the Speaker's Task Force on Domestic Violence. Donovan was instrumnetal in getting a 24 hour shelter open for victims, as well as a GPS system to follow offenders.
"We've strengthened the courts, so we know what information is out there," Donovan said. "We've taken guns out of the house, and we've strengthened the bail bond program."
Donovan said the timing of the event was appropriate, with police in Milford and Southbury last Friday, responding to domestic-related scenes 30 minutes apart. Two people ended up dead at both scenes.
Tom Mealy knows what domestic violence is like. In 2009, his sister was the victim in a domestic related murder-suicide. Mealy has spent his time since visiting schools getting the message across that being a man, or a woman, means being respectful in personal relationships.
"You can start in high school and work your way to the grade schools," said Mealy. "I think at that level, they're most impressionable and willing to accept ideas and examples."
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