Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Benefit reminds us to open our eyes to domestic violence

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Seven years after Stacey Plummer was shot and killed by her estranged husband, her family is using the tragedy of her death to inspire positive change.

Stacey’s brother, Jeffrey, and his wife Tammy are hosting a benefit Friday at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club to raise money for CASA — Community Action Stops Abuse — a domestic violence shelter and advocacy organization in St. Petersburg. But “The Many Faces of CASA Masquerade” is about more than money. It’s about changing the way people think about domestic violence.

“This issue affects all walks of life,” Jeffrey Plummer said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an attorney or a bartender. ... It can affect everyone.”

Even a successful family lawyer such as Stacey Plummer. At 43, Plummer seemed to have it all: a million-dollar waterfront home in Tierra Verde, a successful law practice, three adopted children and a new husband. Less than a year after marrying Dermot Reid, there was trouble, though. She learned he had a mean streak; he threatened her, abused her dog. She filed for divorce and went to court to have him thrown out of the house; but help didn’t arrive quick enough for Plummer. Reid shot and killed her at home before turning the gun on himself.

Years later, Jeffrey Plummer still thinks about the “masks” his sister wore that hid her pain from those closest to her. They were a tight family. He lived nearby in South Pasadena, while his parents and another sister were even closer in Tierra Verde. They talked often and saw each other once a week; but Plummer never knew the hell his strong, confident, successful, educated sister was going through.

“You would never have thought she would have been a victim of domestic violence,” he said.

For years, Plummer and his wife have wanted to get involved in supporting efforts that aid domestic violence victims — specifically CASA. It was his sister’s favorite charity. As a family lawyer, many of her clients had been helped by CASA, and she knew the good the organization does.

“That was very special to her when she was practicing and alive,” he said.

This year, they decided to get involved, inspired by the story of another woman who was killed in January and wanting to honor Stacey, who would have turned 50 in August.

The event’s theme — a masquerade ball — is meant to draw attention to the game people trapped in abusive relationships are forced to play. They wear masks to hide their pain, thinking they are protecting themselves and their loved ones. Those closest to them may never know they’re in trouble, until it’s too late.

That’s why we all need to be pay attention and be prepared to help, however we can.

“Let’s keep our eyes open because this is happening everywhere,” Jeffrey Plummer said.

While Friday’s event promises to be well-attended, there are still seats available. For information, go to casa-stpete.org.

Get ready for St. Anthony’s golf tournament

Registration is underway for the fourth-annual St. Anthony’s Golf Classic tournament Oct. 25 at The Bayou Club, 7979 Bayou Club Blvd. in Largo. Proceeds from the event will benefit the St. Anthony’s Memory Disorder Center.

The four-person scramble tournament is open to players of all levels, who can sign up as individuals or as teams. The $275 per-person registration fee covers greens fees, cart rental, tee gifts, all contests and mulligans, raffle entry, range balls, a lunch buffet and dinner reception

Corporate sponsorships are available. Onsite registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with a 12:45 p.m. shotgun start.

For more information or to register, call (727) 825-1086 or go to StAnthonysFoundation.org.

jscullin@tampatrib.com

(727) 828-6150

Twitter: jscullinTBO

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