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New women's crisis center opens in Victoria (Video)

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 22, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated March 22, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.

Randy Vivian, president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, congratulates Ginny Stafford, of Mid-Coast Family Services, on the dedication of the new women's crisis center. Vivian presented the organization with the chamber's Building Better Communities Award.

Nikki Lagrega beamed with approval as she toured the new women's crisis center.

"I think it's wonderful, I really do," she said. "There's nothing that they haven't thought of. It's beautiful."

The new 16-room center can sleep 40 adults and includes youth beds and cribs.

"We could sleep 27 at the old place," said Dina Tollefson, legal advocate with Mid-Coast Family Services. "We had six rooms over there with bunk beds and six people to a room."

Thursday marked the center's open house and dedication. It opened for business on Feb. 29 and currently houses 23 clients.

Margaret Carver, president of the Mid-Coast board of directors, said Thursday's dedication was a long-time coming.

"We're real excited and appreciate all the community support," said Carver, who has been involved with a women's crisis center in Victoria for more than 20 years. "This organization is near and dear to my heart. I believe in it."

Ginny Stafford, executive director of Mid-Coast, also thanked those who made the project possible.

"I hope when you walk around, you'll look at the names on the walls and the rooms' sponsors," Stafford said. "Those are people who made a difference. Some of those gifts were big gifts with lots of zeros, some were small gifts, but what matters is we put them all together and we ended up with this."

In addition to the bedrooms, the center includes a dining room, commercial kitchen, laundry room, living room, computer room, playground and pet kennel.

It also has a men's sleeping room and isolation room for ill clients.

Security was at the top of the list when the center was built.

Randy Vivian, president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and former operations manager for Mid-Coast, recalled a shooting at the former location.

"No bullet will ever penetrate this building and that is an amazing thing," Vivian said. "This was a dream for many years and now it's a reality."

Stafford said security measures at the new center include bullet proof windows, security cameras, double-door entry system and a gated driveway.

Ruth Stock, 80, was also struck by the new center.

"It's wonderful," she said. "I could have needed a place like this a long time ago, but I got out early enough. I am proud our town has such a wonderful place for women who need it."

Stafford noted that Mid-Coast Family Services is not a faith-based organization, but that prayer plays a role in the organization's mission.

"We are a group of people who believe in the power of prayer," she said. "As you walk through each room today, touch the walls and say a prayer.

"Think about the people who are going to be occupying those rooms. Bless those rooms with your prayers." Stafford continued.

"Many of you were here when we blessed the ground. Many of you were here when we broke ground. Now we're not standing on ground anymore," she said. "It's a great thing to be standing inside a structure.

She again thanked the sponsors, in-kind donors and other members of the community for their concern for Mid-Coast's clients.

"Thank you for wanting to make a difference for people you don't even know," Stafford said. "I hope and I pray that you never have to know anyone who uses this facility, but if you do, we are here."



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