ANDERSON, Ind. —
Andrea Carlile said her story is one of hope, one she dreams can help change someone else’s life.
And if just one family is saved through sharing her tale — a journey from the brink of death with a gun being held to her head by her husband to today, where she is reconciled with that same man — then it is all worthwhile.
Carlile and her husband, Wes, spoke to more than 100 people at the Madison County Domestic Violence Coalition’s Awareness Dinner Thursday evening at Madison Park Church of God.
The Anderson couple shared their story that Andrea Carlile documents in the book “The War That Came Home,” focusing on Wes Carlile’s battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic violence.
“I never thought I would be abusive,” he told the attendees. “I grew up in an abusive home and have the scars to prove it.”
But when he came home from Iraq and subsequent deployments, the Army’s chaplain assistant bottled up all the tragedy he’d seen. He sought treatment though, shocked into it after his wife decided to leave him.
“I’m a better man now that I ever was before,” Wes Carlile said. “I’m a better father, officer and EMT because I know what it feels like to hurt and unfortunately what it feels like to hurt other people.”
Like his wife, he hopes the book touches and changes families.
“If it can help one person, the journey and the scars on my heart are worth it,” Wes Carlile said.
In addition to the Carliles’ speech, those who had gone above and beyond in assisting victims of domestic violence were recognized.
- Elwood police reserve officer John Davis was recognized for actively participating in several awareness events and fundraisers for Alternatives, as well as donating appliances and furniture to victims in need.
- Gay Doss, Madison County victim assistance provider with the Sheriff’s Department, was honored for her role in assisting the family of Amanda Wiles as one of the first responders to the scene and her continued support of the Wiles family.
- CASA volunteer Nellie Elsten was recognized as “the type of volunteer that everyone dreams of” and for doing an excellent job encouraging and mentoring new volunteers.
- Alternatives victims advocate Kandi Floyd was honored for her compassion for victims and their families as well as her commitment to prevention and education.
- Sheriff’s deputy David Kollros was recognized for his understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and ensuring that victims are aware of their rights and other important information.
Alternatives received more than $4,000 in donations during the dinner as well. More than $3,000 came from Hoosier Park as the domestic violence shelter and resource organization was one of their chosen charities. And Susie Simmons chose to give $1,000 to Alternatives through the Madison County Community Foundation’s Unexpected Gifts campaign.
“I have known (Alternatives CEO) Mary Jo Lee for more than 30 years and hold her and all she has done in high esteem,” Simmons said. “I felt this would be a good place for the donation to go.”
Lee was happy with the turnout for the program and said the wide cross-section of the community represented was a good sign, showing that not only does domestic violence affect people from all sectors but that people from all sectors were getting involved to make a change.
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