As the month of October comes to a close, the staff and residents at Sheltering Wings hosted a candlelight vigil to honor the memories of those who lost their lives because of domestic violence.
Sheltering Wings is a shelter in Danville for women and their children who have been victims of domestic violence.
“How many of you have a sister?,” asked Carmen Mitchell. “How many of you have a best friend that you could probably call your sister?”
That’s how Mitchell began to talk about her best friend, Emily Waddell-Giles, who was murdered June 18 at her Lizton home, leaving behind her small child. Her husband, Michael Giles, has been charged with murder.
“That’s the kind of friendship that I had with Emily,” Mitchell said. “It didn’t matter what day, or what time, morning or midnight — she was there for me and I was there for her.
“Once she started telling me about the problems that her and Mike were having, is when I go nervous and very protective over her. I was always texting her and checking in on her.”
Mitchell said she tried several times to bring Waddell-Giles to Sheltering Wings.
“But there was always a reason why she couldn’t go at that exact moment,” she said. “If I would’ve just been able to go there, pick them up, and bring them here, maybe I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.”
She begged those at the vigil to be advocates for their friends and family and to try to be that hand that leads them away from a violent situation and into a safe place, like the shelter.
“It doesn’t need to come to this,” Mitchell said. “I shouldn’t even be here talking to you ‘in memory of’ my best friend, Emily Waddell. No one should have to prepare a speech like I have had to for tonight. Please ask for help.”