Crime victims honored at Tree of Angels event
Limestone County crime victims and their families – including one of the latest, that of slain DPS Trooper Damon Allen – were honored at the 13th Annual Tree of Angels Ceremony, held at the courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Christmas can be a hard time for those who have been the victims of crime, and no one knows that better than those who work in the County Attorney’s Office, because they continually work with crime victims and their families.
Consequently, County Attorney Roy DeFriend and his associates hold the ceremony each year to remember what the crime victims have gone through and honor their strength and endurance as they move through this difficult time in their lives.
DeFriend opened the evening welcoming those present, reminding them why honoring crime victims is important.
“For families and friends who have lost a loved one to a violent crime and to survivors of violent crime, the holidays can leave a void and pose challenges to carry on,” he said.
Assistant County Attorney Tara Gough read the proclamation the commissioners court had made, declaring Dec. 5 Tree of Angels Day in Limestone County; and Assistant County Attorney Beth Toben gave an invocation.
Church on the Rock pastors Billy and Cynthia Bever, though not present, were then recognized for hosting Tree of Angels for the previous 12 years, since it started in Limestone County in 2005. The church was not able to host the ceremony this year.
Also recognized were crime survivors Kathy Collins, Atina Cagadas, and the Damon Allen family. DeFriend also recognized the loss of San Marcos Police Department Officer Kenneth Copeland the day before.
The keynote speaker was Kristin Beard, whose father, Harold Nussbaum, was lost to criminal violence last year when his son, Kristin Beard’s brother, killed him. Beard spoke words from the heart to encourage those present, especially those whose lives had been touched by violence.
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