Be A Voice For The Voiceless

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Singing for S.A.F.E. concert and vigil is on Saturday night.

By SHAUN SAVARESE

Of The Record Staff

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were 82 domestic violence-related homicides in 2016 in North Carolina. As of Sept. 27, there were already 57 domestic violence homicides in North Carolina.

S.A.F.E. of Harnett County is a nonprofit organization that provides shelter and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Singing for S.A.F.E. Benefit Concert and Candlelight Vigil will be held on Saturday, at 7 p.m. at Campbell University’s Scott Concert Hall.

This is the eighth year of the event, and event Coordinator Rusty Godwin said it’s raised more than $70,000 in seven years. He said the nonprofit is funded through state, federal and local grants, but a good portion of this year’s $405,377 budget comes from donations and fundraising.

“All of the money stays in Harnett County,” Mr. Godwin said. He said the budget funds a local shelter, and area advocates for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

As of July 1, 2016, more than 82 people have died from a domestic violent homicide in the State of North Carolina. Each of those 82 people will be represented at the vigil, by a person who will stand, holding a candle at the front of Scott Concert Hall in their memory.

It is estimated that 75 percent of people have been in a threatening domestic violence situation — or know someone who has.

“We want to let the victims of domestic violence know, you’re not alone,” Mr. Godwin said, “We — as a community — support you. We’re here for you. If community leaders can come together, and take a stand, we as a whole might give them the courage to come forward.”

S.A.F.E. of Harnett County is actively reaching out to elected officials, as well as business and civic leaders within the community, to help recognize those 82 victims of domestic homicide and show support to those struggling to free themselves from a threatened environment.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats supports the annual event, and his agency stands behind it.

“I have attended this event and also volunteered to stand in place of a domestic violence victim during the reading of the names. That was especially impactful to me, personally,” Sheriff Coats said. “I support this fundraiser and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office values its close working relationship with S.A.F.E. of Harnett County.”

Mr. Godwin wants everyone to know that while the Singing for S.A.F.E. Benefit Concert and Candlelight Vigil is a fundraiser — it is more about raising awareness.

“We are looking for people to donate one-and-a-half hours out of the year,” he said. “If you can give one-and-a-half hours of See Vigil, Page 3A

Nationally, the cost of domestic violence exceeds $3 billion a year. Pictured above, are, Kathryn Godwin Wise, Janette Godwin, Carlie Barbour, Chelsea Waddelow, Todd Proctor and Jeff Nelson performing at last year’s Singing for S.A.F.E. event, raising $10,000 for the non-profit.

Daily Record Photo/Shaun Savarese Vigil

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your time … it may change a person’s life.”

The Saturday-night concert has consistently featured beautiful music and song, sung and performed by talented, local artists.

The singing of Janette Godwin and Kathryn Godwin Wise is beautiful and rare. Mr. Godwin’s daughters come together every year for this show. The sisters have not, and do not perform together anywhere else.

The musical styling of Carlie Barbour, Chelsea Waddelow, Todd Proctor and Jeff Nelson is also impressive and inspires an awe, all its own.

“It will be a different show than last year. It always is,” Mr. Godwin said.

S.A.F.E. of Harnett County has a large number of tickets still available for Saturday. The event falls at a busy time in the county, as many festivals are underway. Much of the Campbell University student body will be off campus, on fall recess. This presents the university campus — and Scott Concert Hall — as an uncommonly peaceful setting for the nightime fall concert. Tickets are available in exchange for a $10 donation to the nonprofit.

For tickets, or if you would like to be a part of this event, and stand in memory at the vigil, Mr. Godwin can be reached at (910) 897-8448.

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