By Kristen Faith
It was a cold winter evening in February when Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence hosted the Grand Opening of their office space in Colorado Springs. After years of virtual assistants and shared co-working space, BTSADV was able to secure a home base with the support of one of Colorado Springs’s most patriotic nonprofits.
In 2017, BTSADV was introduced to Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center by one of their former Board Members and Survivor Sister Retreat participants during a visit to the city. I went with former Board Member Tara Loo, her cousin Susan, and my partner to meet the charismatic Bob McLaughlin, CEO of Mt. Carmel. He shared stories about the organization and the vision of bringing their message to the Olympic City. The meeting was encouraging and full of hope.
Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center provides transition and employment assistance, behavioral health and wellness, supportive services, connection to community resources, and safe event space for veterans, military members, and their families. We knew this would be a perfect fit for BTSADV as we continue to expand our network into the military community.
BTSADV has asked countless times about serving military families and has been waiting for the right moment. As a military spouse myself, I believe partnering with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center was the right fit for us.
When I founded BTSADV in 2011, I crafted it based on what was missing in my own journey of healing and recovery. I saw the needs of other survivors and families and was determined to bridge the gap in services. But beyond this passion for serving fellow survivors, I knew military members needed support too. I was inspired by a special someone to dig deeper and intertwine these two worlds because they were more similar than I thought.
“When I learned that Kristen had PTS (post-traumatic stress) from her experience with domestic violence, it opened up my eyes and taught me that soldiers were not the only ones who suffer with [sic] the lingering effects of trauma,” shared TerryJosiah Sharpe, combat veteran and music executive.
TerryJosiah and I had an instant connection after meeting in a bakery during a business meeting. We discussed ideas for the organization, including a special song called “Better Days” that was later dedicated to survivors, written by TerryJosiah and his brother JJ Sharpe. After TerryJosiah learned he had been unhealthy in previous relationships, he felt a passion to speak out and share his story. TerryJosiah and I began sharing our stories together and the rest was history.
Together we moved to Colorado Springs in late 2017 to start our next chapter of life together. Little did I know my life was going to change on that winter evening.
Bringing this story full circle and back to the wintery night in February, it was the Grand Opening of BTSADV. Despite the low visibility, cold temperatures, and canceled flights into the Springs, things were heating up at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. The building was packed with dignitaries, community leaders, volunteers, friends, and family for a night of celebration. There was live music performed by local musicians, delicious food donated by You-Ka Cafe and Zoës Kitchen and smiles all around by dear supporters.
Before the night ended Bob McLaughlin introduced TerryJosiah to the room full of dignitaries. He, too, wanted to thank the guests for attending and had a special performance lined up to commemorate the event. He introduced the story of “Better Days” and directed guests to the foyer where a full band was set. I was completely taken by surprise and found a seat in the corner to enjoy this special performance staged by my partner.
Guests knew what was about to happen and quickly directed me to the front seat. TerryJosiah creatively changed lyrics from “Will you take my hand” to “Will you marry me” and dropped to his knee to propose in front of a roaring crowd of friends and family.
Looking back over the years that have led to this moment, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center played a pivotal role in our love story. From the first meeting that ignited a passion to serve more families to this wintery love story that will be remembered for years to come, this partnership was truly meant to be.
When we think of BTSADV we think of family and that’s exactly what you’ll get from Mt. Carmel Veteran’s Service Center.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.
Share Your Story
Sharing our stories can be incredibly empowering while also helping others connect with survivors who have similar experiences. If you are inspired to share your story with us, submit here. You can choose to remain anonymous.
You can also donate to BTSADV here.