Peace House celebrates 25 years of saving lives and raising awareness of domestic violence
Since 1995, Peace House has provided emergency shelter, support resources and aid for thousands of women and children who have been victims of domestic violence.
In 2019 alone, Peace House sheltered 101 women and children for 3,001 nights of safety, took more than 4,650 domestic-violence calls on its 24-hour helpline and gave 614 community-awareness presentations, according to its annual update.
And while the work continues, the anti-domestic-violence nonprofit is celebrating its 25th anniversary by honoring the group of grassroots volunteers who started the train rolling.
Over the next year, Peace House will post a monthly blog on its website highlighting the volunteers. The blog is researched and written by Karen Marriott, chairwoman of the 25th Anniversary Committee.
Marriott, who pored through archived newspapers and has completed 40 interviews, posted her first blog, which is about Jean Paulson and Linda Hathaway, who were both “unassuming church ladies,” according to Marriott.
Marriott began seeing their names in connection with something called the Domestic Peace Task Force in 1992.
The task force grew out of a social ministry group after the murder of Parkite Nadalee Noble at the hands of her estranged husband in a local parking lot in 1990.
The ministry group began focusing on the murder, and held some awareness presentations, which included words from Debra Daniels, who, at the time, ran the YWCA in Salt Lake City, Marriott said.
“They had her come up and speak with their group, and everyone started to realize the issue (of domestic violence) was much bigger than previously imagined,” she said. “So they opened things up to the community with a forum called the Counseling Institute, which is no longer here.”
The Counseling Institute is the forerunner to Peace House, Marriott said.
“Several of the original board and founding members for Peace House came from that group,” she said.
Noble’s murder spurred others into action, including Teri Orr, who was the editor of The Park Record at that time, according to Marriott.
“Teri had some experience with domestic violence, and wrote an award-winning series in the newspaper,” Marriott said. “Nadalee’s mother had given Teri Nadalee’s journals, and Teri gave a lot of attention to domestic violence.”
Digging up Peace House history has been informative and fascinating, Marriott said.
“Jean Paulson passed away in 2004, but through her obituary I found the name of her husband who now lives in North Dakota,” she said. “It was cool to find him, and I had a fabulous conversation with him.”
Marriott tracked down Hathaway, who had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I don’t know how I found her, but I did, and it was great talking with her, too,” she said.
For her upcoming blogs, Marriott has interviewed other Park City residents such as Mary Ford, who was with the Park City Police Department for 30 years, and worked patrol in the mid 1980s; Bob Wells, who built the first Peace House shelter that would be used from 1994 until last year; and former executive director Jane Patten.
Patten, who took the Peace House helm in 2004 and retired in 2017, said talking about domestic violence, let alone providing help for victims, in the mid 2000s was done in a more covert manner.
“In many instances, being a victim of domestic violence produced a feeling of shame, and there was still the feeling that we had to be quiet about what we were doing,” she said. “We were in the shadows, and the vast majority in Summit County didn’t know much about what we were doing. And that was the way it was across the country.”
With the rise of domestic-violence awareness in the years following, Peace House followed suit and started to be more vocal about its mission to wipe out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties.
“(It became) about what we as an organization and community could do to bring the issue into the forefront and work on the best way to care for those who need care,” Patten said.
Still, Patten had sort of a blueprint of what to do thanks to Paulson, Hathaway and others.
“There was so much put into place that I had a good foundation of where to start the work I had to do,” she said. “They did it with such energy, enthusiasm, commitment and tenacity, and I wanted to replicate that. I wanted to learn from what they had done and keep those values and expand upon them.”
Last September Peace House, which is now directed by Kendra Wyckoff, opened its new community campus, which had been in the works since 2012.
“The new facility will continue to save and change lives,” Patten said. “It will also help the community to look at the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in a very different way.”
The campus offers transitional housing, child care, licensed clinical therapy, case-management services and legal advocacy, which would have been difficult to procure without the support of the community, Patten said.
“We are a community who isn’t afraid to say we have a problem and then work on solving the problem,” she said. “To this day, I’m in awe of the people who have committed such time, attention and caring. And it has been my wonderful luck and enjoyment to have been a part of that.”
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Fans of “Sudan and Me,” a musical written, produced and performed in Park City, can now purchase an album of the production’s songs.