Mother decorates Mackinaw to stop domestic abuse

By Beau Ebenezer

December 9, 2012 Updated Dec 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM CDT

MACKINAW, Ill. -- A mother who lost her daughter to domestic abuse four years ago, is standing up to make sure it never happens again.

Hundreds in the Heart of Illinois are helping to deck the halls in Mackinaw and spread awareness of domestic abuse.

Veterans Park in Mackinaw looked empty Sunday afternoon but come December 15, the park will be transformed.

Jean Cohoon is personalizing hundreds of ornaments in honor of her daughter MeLisa Dee, a domestic abuse victim.

"My favorite gift to give has always been an ornament and she loved Christmas. It was her favorite holiday. So I put the two together the first year and I thought I'd have 35 or 40 ornaments. But it blew up to about 220," said Cohoon.

MeLisa Dee was killed by her husband Daniel Cleary four years ago, after dealing with years of abuse.

"She thought she could handle it. I knew she couldn't. We all knew that she was going to die. We all knew and it just broke our hearts. It was very hard I went absolutely crazy for awhile and could do nothing, just literally nothing. So now I feel at least I'm doing something," said Cohoon.

Ornaments range from $1-10.

Money raised will go towards Domestic Abuse Prevention through the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

This is Cohoon's second year of ornament fundraising, and she said the generosity has been overwhelming.

More than 800 ornaments have already been personalized for the year.

They include some of Cohoon's favorites like Tazewell County's Captain Henderson and Detective Hal Harper, who played a vital role in sentencing her daughter's killer with 60 years in prison.

Cohoon says she's not ready to stop yet.

"I have a wild and crazy goal to have enough ornaments to stream from the Pavillion in Mackinaw to her house which is like, two miles away," said Cohoon.

You can order an ornament through Facebook at Jean Cohoon and help keep her message visible to everyone this holiday.

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