Everyone deserves a life with no fear

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Today Bert and I celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. Since there’s no silver, diamond or gold associated with marking 31 years I’m declaring it our Baskin Robbins anniversary. Through the years I’ve shared how Bert married me and my three daughters in a giant leap of faith back in 1986. We’ve both been blessed by the union, as have our daughters and now our grandsons.

A week ago when I heard the tragic news about a young mother being murdered in the middle of the day at her workplace and that the suspect was likely her estranged fiancé, it rocked me to the core. I didn’t know Kelly Pease but about 35 years ago I was traveling that same road. I’d spent 10 years in a marriage with a man who had vowed to love, honor and cherish me but instead over time became abusive, controlling and violent. I feared for my life for years and I took him at his word that he would kill me before he’d let me leave. When I went back to college the abuse escalated. It wasn’t until I packed whatever belongings would fit in our van with my daughters and put several hundred miles between us was I able to begin a life. I looked over my shoulder out of fear for years. I worked two jobs, raised my children, learned to laugh again and just when I thought life couldn’t be any better, there was Bert. He didn’t rescue me, he simply loved me. When we married he said vows that he meant.

There will be much dialogue about how the system failed Kelly Pease. From my own experience I know there will be some judging, too, about what she could have, should have done differently. Friends, co-workers and family will be feeling some guilt about not realizing the level of danger Kelly was facing until it was too late. But really the only thing that matters is that this young woman’s life was ended, needlessly ... tragically. It’s most important that we don’t let Kelly’s story end as well.

My heart breaks that she will never know there are men who value and cherish women, and that she deserved her own happily ever after with someone who would love, honor and cherish her. My heart breaks that she was doing all the right things to better her circumstances and that she knew in her precious last weeks there was light at the end of the tunnel. She was finding her strength.

For the people in our communities who provide services for those who find themselves in abusive situations, I know Kelly’s death has not only broken their hearts but renewed their commitment to protect the vulnerable. If you or someone you know is living in fear please reach out. The advocates at Safe Passage Violence Prevention Center or the Victims Services Unit of the Post Falls Police Department are available always. As a community we can make the effort to better understand the issues of domestic violence and also the frustrations of public safety officers when the legal system fails a victim so spectacularly.

• • •

Mike Pearce, here’s to you my friend for being one of the good guys who gave my BFF Anna the happily ever after she so deserved. Thinking of you both on what would have been your own 31st wedding anniversary. Feel the love.

• • •

Things to do:

Tonight is NIC’s Career and Technical Education “Ladies Night” Learn about career opportunities in aerospace, automotive, carpentry, collision repair, diesel, HVAC, industrial mechanic, machining, welding and more. It’s 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Parker Technical Education Center, 7064 W. Lancaster Road, Rathdrum. Call (208) 769-3448.

Get your green on with the Coeur d’Alene Rotary on Friday for Coeur d’Irish at The Coeur d’Alene Resort. Bagpipes, Irish dancers, food and specialty drinks. Starts at 5:30 p.m., info hrogers@nccc.org.

Celebrate the 98th anniversary of the American Legion at the annual Steven H. Nipp American Legion Post 143 Birthday Banquet on Friday, March 17. Awards will be presented for Veteran of the Year, Firefighter of the Year and Educator of the Year. RSVP, 773-9054.

Dinner Cabaret Encore Performance with an Irish theme on Friday and Saturday, presented by Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, 7 p.m. at the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center.

Post Falls Senior Center Gold Rush to benefit the Meals on Wheels program from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday at the Greyhound Park. Tickets at the Senior Center and at the door.

• • •

Happy Birthday today to John McGruder, Len Crosby, Bill Haughton, Terie Huston, Rick Noordam, Barry Rubin, Zack Yost, Pam Humphrey and Penny Brownell. Tomorrow Colleen English, John Bujosa, Cindy Marcella, Cathy Riorden, Kelly Moore, Ken Kress, LauraLee Johnson, Laurel Rollins, Daniel Schelske and Dottie Pichard take another trip around the sun.

Combining a little luck o’ the Irish with their birthday celebration on March 17 are Pat Castelian (90!), Cody Peugh, Keith Hutcheson, Patty Conkle, Trish Ortega, Terry Corey, Carrie Nicholson, Mike Gump and Nichelle Price. On Saturday my Birthday Club buddy Jack Pierce, Chris Englebrecht, Dawn Johnston, Lisa Jirkins, Julie Bjornson and Bret Merry blow out the candles on their cake.

On Sunday Lance Bridges, Taryn Nichols, Kris Storey, Megan Merry, Troy Jones, Judey Brown, Patsy Andres, Janet Batchelder and Taryn Moliter are celebrating. Happy first day of Spring birthdays on Monday to Pam Houser, Kristi Granier, Aaron Sadler, John Blanchette, Tad Thompson, Julie Clark, Carolyn Anderson and Matt Hansen.

On Tuesday Brandie Chapman, Kelleye Heydon, Luke Paul, Michelle Lewis, Marla Lopez, Trudie Chamberlan, Julie Billetz, Steve Hanson, Jacque Kress, Derek Teal and Jack Crawford mark their special day.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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