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North Carolina Air National Guard Shines the Light on Domestic Violence

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

See a need; fill it! Members of the 145th Airlift Wing are encouraged, March-May, to donate needed items, including flashlights and batteries, into specified blue bins placed throughout the base for the local Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter, Charlotte, N.C. 

“As a guard unit, we don’t have an in-house domestic violence support system,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Lindsey Weston, sexual assault response coordinator for the North Carolina Air National Guard. “We have the legal office and chaplains that help, but not an organization like the domestic violence shelter to process something like this, so it’s a local resource that fills the gap on something we don’t offer.”

The Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter was established in 2012 and can support up to 80 beds or 19 families and 10 single adults. The shelter staff create service plans based on the each family’s needs; some may stay longer than others based on their situations. The 40,000 square-foot facility located on 5 acres in Charlotte offers counseling, support groups, individual advocacy, substance use treatment, and life skills/career planning services. The shelter also has a donation room to assist in providing residents with needed toiletries and clothing, much like the donation drive put together by Capt. Weston and Chapter 7. 

“This is a special thing we started doing,” said Tech. Sgt. Erik Maiers, Chapter 7 president. “This shelter is in our back yard. Not only is it a way for us to give back to our community, but it helps us reach many people. It also allows the shelter to take in more victims and house them until they find a new place to live.”

Currently, the shelter is in dire need of flashlights and batteries as they have been experiencing power outages. Other items needed for the donation drive include but are not limited to bedding, towels, cleaning and personal hygiene supplies, and trash bags. The blue bins are placed throughout the North Carolina Air National Guard Base at the following sites: Shoppette, base clothing and supply, building 2, and the dining facility. 

“This drive means something to me because I feel like it’s an important opportunity to show our support for other community support organizations,” said Capt. Weston. “I feel like it highlights a local resource that others may not know about. They do amazing work; it’s quite remarkable what they’re able to accomplish!”

If you are unable to donate to a blue bin within the March-May months, there are many ways to get involved in the local shelter. If you aren’t from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, you can research your area for similar organizations. If you need assistance with matters relating to domestic violence, but are uncomfortable reaching out to military sources, you can research 

“It [domestic violence] shows up more often than people think and we want to help break down the stigma around silently managing your problems and isolation,” said Capt. Weston. “I think there is tremendous strength in reaching out for key resources to help in your success. There should be zero shame in it; we want to normalize making connections to these specific resources. My concern is that you get help somewhere, a reputable source; we’re wingmen for each other. We hope that these resources help you in your civilian life with your friends and family as a positive source of information for them should they need it.”