IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – Leaders and community members in the Iron Mountain area gathered at the First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain on Tuesday morning for the first in a month-long series of events held by the Caring House for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tuesday’s gathering was held in honor of victims of domestic violence, and included a group prayer for those who have died as a result of domestic violence.

The event was held on the church’s lawn, where dozens of crosses have been displayed with the names of victims. Caring House executive director Cheryl O’Neil says she hopes the event shows survivors that they aren’t alone.

“It is so overwhelming to know that we have such an awesome community. I’m a survivor myself, and I was one that felt alone,” O’Neil said. “And then to see all these people come here and not to have to be begged or, you know, encouraged at all. Just say ‘This is what we’re doing, will you come and join us?’ and they take their time from their businesses, their court rooms, from law enforcement. They come here and support the mission of providing safety for victims in our Community.”

Among those in attendance were members of local law enforcement, church leaders, clergy, and judges. O’Neil says public events are important to showing survivors that it’s okay to reach out for help.

“You know, this is a message I want survivors in our community to see all these people care. So many times as survivors they think they’re by themselves or alone and nobody understands and nobody cares that people gathered here today to say we care. We’re here to support you,” O’Neil said. “You’re gonna be okay. We’re here to protect you. We’re here to help you achieve a better life for you and your children.”

The Caring House will continue to hold events throughout the month. You can connect with the organization through their website and Facebook page.