"Tennessee Season To Remember" Honors Homicide Victims and Survivors
NASHVILLE – For the 14th consecutive year, families of homicide victims honored their lost loved ones during the annual “Tennessee Season to Remember” Thursday evening. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam hosted the event at First Baptist Church in Nashville.
“As we gather to honor loved ones lost to violence, we want survivors to know the community cares about them, and this time of year is when they often need that support the most,” Haslam said. The governor was joined by many state and local public safety officials for the ceremony.
The keynote speaker was Kim Ledford of Cleveland, Tennessee, who lost her son to a vehicular homicide six years ago. Since then, she has helped other families by speaking in schools, working to strengthen drunk driving laws in the state and serving on victim impact panels for various groups. She also created the Dustin Ledford Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships each year to seniors at Bradley County’s three high schools.
Grammy Award-winning gospel group The Fairfield Four provided musical entertainment. After a brief service, families from across Tennessee placed ornaments on memorial wreaths in honor of their loved ones. The memorial wreaths will be displayed in the Tennessee State Capitol throughout the holiday season.
Former Sen. Charlotte Burks placed the first ornament on the wreaths. Burks’ husband, Sen. Tommy Burks, was murdered in 1998. Representatives from the sponsoring organizations, as well as the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, also placed ornaments on the wreaths in honor of the victims and the survivors they assist throughout the year.
The Tennessee Board of Parole, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the office of Secretary of State Tre Hargett, the office of State Attorney General Herbert Slatery, the office of State Treasurer David Lillard, the Tennessee Department of Correction, Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs, Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) and victim advocacy groups You Have the Power and Tennessee Voices for Victims are working together on this year’s event. Also providing support are the Middle Tennessee Office of the U. S. Attorney and the Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office.
(photos were taken at the 2015 Tennessee Season To Remember)