JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thursday was a special night for an advocacy group in Jacksonville.
The Justice Coalition held a reception to introduce its new executive director, Michael Liles.
The Justice Coalition steps in to help victims of crime. Liles knows that story because he has lived that story.
In March, his wife, Deborah (pictured below), was a popular music teacher at San Jose Elementary. She was killed in their Panama Park home.
I served as emcee for the event, and spoke with Liles about his new role and the reason he's taking the job. He told me that being an advocate for victims of violent crimes is something he knows far too well.
"Sadly, yes, but it does give us an opportunity to be a voice for people who are involved in a process that they're never wanted to be and don't fully understand," Liles said. "So we can help them know what's coming, what to expect, what to anticipate and be there for them if they've got questions or if they want to ask something of the prosecutors, the police. We have resources to do that for them."
Steve Halverson, CEO of Haskell Corporation, hosted Thursday evening's event and made a plea for people to support Justice Coalition. Anyone who would like to donate can visit www.justicecoalition.org/donate.