Last Wednesday, October 26th, our program and community got together to celebrate the retirement of our Founder and Executive Director, Deborah Johnson.
In 1986, after President Regan signed the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) into being, Deb Johnson applied for funding to create our program – Domestic Violence Program, Inc. Initially, she partnered with the YWCA in Nashville, and had only a tiny, one room office with a desk and phone, and limited salaries. In 1988, two safe houses were added and in 2003 a large, gated shelter. In 2007 the program merged with Sexual Assault Services, thus becoming a duel program. From here, the organization has continued to grow under her leadership, providing safe shelter, counseling, and attorney representation among other valuable services to any victim of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Deb is known and respected in the community by many, but even more so by her staff. Her patience, transparency, authenticity, open-mindedness, and generosity make her the great leader and boss that she has been for 30 years. While we, Domestic Violence Program staff, are terribly sad to see her leave, we are so thankful for all the direction she has given and we are incredibly excited for her new journey into “retirement-hood!” After all, we know she isn’t going far. 😉
Longtime board member, Dr. Sherry Galloway, hosted the retirement celebration for Deb at our local United Way office, located in the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce building. It was a wonderful, casual, cheerful evening where many friends were able to drop in and wish Deb congratulations and a job well done.
Thank you, Deb, for your commitment to this community, this program, staff, and survivors of violence.