No longer a victim: woman launches support group for violent crime survivors

Woman’s Northside home shot up in 2015; 3-year-old daughter inside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Surviving violent crime is something that hits home for many Jacksonville families. But one local survivor and her young daughter are channeling their trauma into advocacy.

In early 2015, Jeanine Herrington and her 3-year-old daughter, Janae, were inside their Northside home when gunmen fired dozens of shots. Miraculously, neither was injured. Police said the home was wrongfully targeted.

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"It changed my life," Herrington said. "I had to make the decision about how it was going to change my life."

Before the shooting, Herrington was a full-time, practicing attorney. While it is not the life path she imagined for herself and her daughter, Herrington says she chose to take action. So, Herrington launched a support group called Messy Miracles. The group regularly meets up to discuss coping with anxiety, triggers from trauma, and healing.

Herrington says while her mission is rewarding, it can be emotional as well.

"There was actually a time when I would hear stories and I would go through a period of survivor's remorse for people I didn't even know," Herrington said. "Seeing the stories where a mother died or the child died, because that could've easily been me. That could've been my story. That could've been my daughter's story."

Herrington says her daughter, Janae, began to show signs of post-traumatic stress about two years after the incident. She is in play therapy, which Herrington says has helped tremendously.

Through their miraculous survival, this mom and daughter team are not giving up.

Janae, now 8, is both a gifted student and vivacious, happy child. Herrington has written a book, with a memoir in the works. She also become a life coach. Through “Messy Miracles," she strives to help others out of the darkness. For her, it is a life’s purpose.

“This was not the path I saw, but I believe God lets things happen for a reason,” Herrington said. “If I can help just one person, then I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.”

To learn more about Herrington’s work and Messy Miracles, visit her website.

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