• Photos by Roxanne Thompson/The Groesbeck Journal
    Madison Allen, 8, places an angel-themed ornament on a Christmas tree at the Tree of Angels ceremony, acknowledging the death of her father, Damon Allen, to criminal violence. Her mother, Damon Allen’s widow, Kasey Allen, and Mexia Police Department Capt. Bobby Coslin watch; and other members of the Allen family also attended. The event was held at the Limestone County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
  • Photos by Roxanne Thompson/The Groesbeck Journal
    Groesbeck attorney Stephen Reed, right, gives a powerful rendition of ‘O, Holy Night’ at the Tree of Angels ceremony, held Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Limestone County courthouse.
  • Photos by Roxanne Thompson/The Groesbeck Journal
    Members of Limestone County Child Protective Services, l-r, Lucy Saldivar, Becky Gorgas, of Groesbeck, and Helen Matthews, of Point Enterprise, serve refreshments at the Tree of Angels ceremony, held at the Limestone County courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 5. At right are Kesley Wedgman, 9, and her brother, Devon, 11, both of Groesbeck.
  • Contributed photo by Kris Cahill
    Limestone County Attorney Roy DeFriend, at right, addresses those attending the Tree of Angels ceremony in the county courtroom of the courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The annual event honors and remembers victims of criminal violence in the county.

Crime victims honored at Tree of Angels event

By Roxanne Thompson, Staff Writer

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.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

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Groesbeck, TX 76642
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