Jacque Waller's family turns heartache into hope for others

Jacque Waller's family turns heartache into hope for others
Stan and Ruby Rawson work on fixing up a closet at the SEMO Family Violence Council in Bonne Terre.
Stan and Ruby Rawson work on fixing up a closet at the SEMO Family Violence Council in Bonne Terre.

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Compassion, it's not one size fits all.

It's not always received through an embrace, as it often takes different forms.

Domestic violence affects one in four women, and one in seven men.

It's real, and no one understands it more than whose who seek shelter at the SEMO Family Violence Council in Bonne Terre, Mo.

"The clients we see come from anywhere," said Carla Crocker-Executive Director of the SEMO Family Violence Council. "They also come from other states, other counties, and we even had clients from other countries."

The 31-bed shelter is one of the largest of its kind in the state

"I didn't even know it existed," said Stan Rawson.

Stan and Ruby Rawson live just a few miles from the shelter, and just learned about it in the last year.

The Rawson's are now making the safe haven for women and children a priority.

"As you know that's near and dear to my heart," said Stan Rawson.

In 2011, Stan and Ruby's daughter Jacque was brutally murdered by her soon to be ex-husband.

It's left an aching void.

Jacque's triplets are now nine years old.

"They (the children) do everything they can and we do all we can to keep her memory alive to them," said Stan Rawson.

That includes giving back to others.

"To have their whole family involved it's not only an inspiration to staff members and women who live here, they are also role models for everyone else in our community," said Carla Crocker.

The Rawson's are currently giving closets at the shelter a makeover, and they have fixed some small projects, like shelves in the pantry.

With the help of their church family at Leadington Free Will Baptist Church, they were able to construct a gazebo for the ladies to relax outdoors.

"I had some extra time, and this is a really good place to spend it," said church member, Raymond White. "If you can do something to help somebody you should."

They also replaced a floor that was damaged by a busted water heater.

"We said, hey, we can do that we've got several good carpenters in our church," said Stan Rawson.

"I cannot express enough gratitude to their entire family to have them involved," said Carla Crocker.

With Jacque in their hearts, the women at the shelter are top of mind.

"In my heart, this is a mission field," said Stan Rawson.

It's a deep commitment to impact the lives of those women who still have a chance.

Stan and Ruby say their work at the shelter is far from complete. There are many more projects at the Family Violence Council that they would like to tackle.

Jacque's sister, Cheryl, is now on the board at the shelter, and Jacque's children also volunteer at the shelter.

The shelter's director says the children's involvement really hits home to the ladies staying there as their mother's story is proof of just how serious domestic violence can be.

To contact the crisis line at the SEMO Family Violence Council, you can call (800) 663-9929.

There are other shelters in our area that take in women and children, currently looking to flee violent situations.

The Safe House for Women in Cape Girardeau is another example.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Jacque Waller's family says don't wait until it's too late to seek help.

Copyright KFVS 2014. All rights reserved.