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Gettys Middle Junior Honor Society Hosts 'Get Colored Purple Run for 51' 
In Memory of Former Student and Domestic Violence Victim Daniel Smith
Fundraiser Supports Domestic Violence Shelters MARY'S House and Safe Harbor
By Karen Brewer


Photographs by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

At left and above: Gettys Middle School students Vir Patel, J.T. Finley, and Marcelo Alvarez.

Many Gettys Middle School students and parents participated in the ‘Get Colored Purple Run for 51’, hosted by the school’s Junior Honor Society, in memory of former student Daniel Smith. Daniel and his mother, Sandra Lee Michelle Smith Thomas, lost their lives to domestic violence, at the hands of Daniel’s stepfather when Daniel was in his first month as a student at Easley High School. His number as a member of the Green Wave football team was 51.

“Daniel was one of our students here, and he was tragically killed by domestic violence,” Tara Hamlett told The Christian View magazine before the start of the run. “We thought that here, at the middle school, we would do something in honor of him. We’ve been promoting domestic violence awareness in our area, so that people are more aware of what is happening.”
      Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

      Gettys Middle School National Junior Honor Society Faculty Advisor Tara Hamlett (fourth from the left) 
      with students Caroline Brumfield, Leila Fortner, Tamaria Williams, Jeanny Aguirre, Courtney Smith, Amanda           Hornkohl, and Madison Thomas. 


“I hope all these kids here pass the word on to their peers what domestic violence is about, and stop it,” Daniel’s uncle, David Smith, told The Christian View. “Hopefully, this will keep going for many years,” he said of the run. “It’s nice to know that the kids who are here understand what domestic violence is about.” He added, “When the boyfriend tells you that you can’t do something, or yells at you for something, get rid of  him, and find somebody else.”


Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

David Smith, an uncle of Daniel Smith, a former Gettys Middle School student who lost his life to domestic violence.
 


Crissy Winarski is a parent of two current Gettys students and one former Gettys student who is now a student at Easley High School. “I have two here now, one in sixth grade and one in eighth grade,” she told The Christian View. “They have the biggest hearts, and they love everybody. We talk to them about domestic violence. We talk to them about everything. We want to make sure that they know how the world is, and we want to let them know that the world is not always as kind as everybody wants it to be. There are some devious people out there, and we want to make sure that they are not sheltered, that they know that they need to be protected, they need to protect themselves, but also that they are able to make their own decisions, not to have someone else make the decisions for them. That’s how we are in our family. We have one-on-one conversations. My youngest is 12, and my oldest is 18, and my daughter is 13, and, since they were very young, we’ve talked to them as adults, not children.”
     Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

     Crissy Winarski with daughter, Jasmine, and son, Aden. 



Hamlett addressed the crowd before the beginning of the Saturday morning run, noting that South Carolina ranks high for domestic violence, and that the reason for the event was to raise money for domestic violence shelters MARY’S House and Safe Harbor, and to raise awareness in the community about domestic violence. 

She introduced Gene Pitts, a board member for MARY’S House, who thanked her as well as everyone who came out for the event. “On behalf of MARY’S House, I want to really thank y’all for being able to support the House. We have a really bad epidemic of domestic violence. If you know of anyone who is being abused, woman, child, please get in touch with law enforcement. Don’t let this thing go unnoticed. The House is there for a safe haven, so that we can be able to take you out of harm’s way. Let’s keep each and every one of us safe. It takes a community to be able to come together to stop the violence that’s going on. Let’s put a stop to it today. Let’s stop it, no matter what.”

During the run, Pitts told The Christian View that the event was a positive thing to help combat domestic violence. “It takes the whole community to come together,” he said. “There is no sense for stuff like this to go on. We’re supposed to have peace. The Bible says for us to come together, so that we can be able to function with one another. You can’t function, being in abuse.”



Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Tara Hamlett, Gettys Middle School National Junior Honor Society faculty advisor, and Gene Pitts, a Board member for MARY'S House, speak to the participants before the start of the 'Get Colored Purple Run for 51.'   



Participants ran or walked the one-mile route of the Get Colored Purple Run for 51, crossing the finish line being covered by purple powder. Purple is the color designating domestic violence awareness.



38 photographs below of the 'Get Colored Purple Run for 51' by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine
              Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

           Trish Spence, daughter, Maggie, and sons, Cullen and J.T., participated in the Get Colored Purple Run for 51.