JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 12th annual "Together We Can" Campaign Breakfast was held at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville on Thursday, with proceeds benefiting the Justice Coalition.
CSX is the title sponsor of the annual breakfast, which has consistently united northeast Florida's law enforcement, elected officials, businesses and involved citizens.
The state attorney and sheriffs from around the area attended the breakfast.
In February 2013, Zuheily Rosado, a clerk at a Palm Coast Mobil gas station, was shot and killed while working behind the counter. Six kids were suddenly without a mom.
"I'm going to miss her hugs and her kisses and her blessings before I go to work and seeing her when I come home from school," Teysha Silva-Roman, Rosado's daughter, said. "I need my mom. I need her."
It's people like Silva-Roman whom the Justice Coalition steps in to help at times of confusion, grief and shock.
"They're my world," Silva-Roman said of the coalition. "They've made my life 100 times easier than usual."
She was smiling for the first time in nearly year because Thursday morning, friends of the Justice Coalition donated a car, gas money and an iPad to the 17-year-old who is trying to finish school and go to college.
"At the time that it happened, they were going through the process of not knowing, a lot of media, so the Justice Coalition was there to support them," said Justice Coalition board member Todney Bynes. "There were things they needed, from food to clothing, that the Justice Coalition was able to step up and provide and then to, most of all, let them know what their rights were as a victim."
Just days after the one-year mark of her mother's death, Silva-Roman was the guest speaker at the annual breakfast.
"It's an awareness to get the message out that other people would know there is help in the time of need," said Ann Dugger, of the Justice Coalition.
Silva-Roman is just one of many the coalition has helped this last year and continues to assist.
Margaret Peg-Rowan's son disappeared 13 years ago, and foul play is suspected.
John Rowan was a Jacksonville businessman who disappeared in 2001. He had a young wife and 5- and 7-year-old children. His mother said the coalition is critical for families like hers.
"When something happens, you're not in a state of mind to know what to really do," she said.
On Thursday, the coalition brought together the community to raise money to continue providing services to victims of violent crimes.
"'Together We Stand' breakfast is where we bring together business leaders, we bring together the clergy, we bring together law enforcement, the sheriffs and the judges, and we all come together to support those victims and be able to raise money so we can continue to help and to support them," Bynes said.
Sponsorship opportunities are available at the platinum, gold, silver or bronze level. Contact the Justice Coalition at 904-783-6312 or visit www.justicecoalition.org to become a sponsor.
The annual breakfast is an important fundraiser for the Justice Coalition to support the mission of assisting innocent victims of violent crimes.
About the Justice Coalition
Founded in 1995, the Justice Coalition is a grass-roots organization seeking rights for victims in the criminal justice system. Founder Ted M. Hires Sr. discovered when he and his staff were brutally victimized by armed robbers, the victims of crime had virtually no place in the process of dispensing justice.
He created the Justice Coalition to help victims of violent crime throughout northeast Florida.
The coalition keeps the public informed and involved through its monthly newspaper, Justice Coalition's Victims' Advocate. The coalition, its founder, and some of the members have won numerous local and national awards stemming from their activities in the area of community involvement.
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