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Tupper Lakers come out strong to remember Jamie, recognize dangers of domestic violence

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland

Tupper Lakers again came out strong Saturday for the second year to remember the tragic loss of Jamie Rose Martin and to recognize the dangers of domestic violence. Nearly 180 walkers and joggers took part in the second annual five kilometer “Power Walk,” sponsored by the Family and Friends of Jamie Rose Martin, which began and ended for the first time at the new Tupper Lake Christian Center.

About 50 walkers pre-registered and 110 signed up that morning. Many children and dogs accompanied the participants.

The theme of the domestic violence awareness event was “Break the Silence...Stop the Violence.”

The second annual event netted just under $10,000 to help the local group further the fight against domestic violence.

Amanda Amell, this year's coordinator of the event and her team of over 20 volunteers, produced a well-organized event and the weather was perfect for it, with clear but overcast skies and the mercury hovering in the low fifties.

Ms. Amell told the Free Press that morning the committee hopes to make this an annual event, in honor of their friend Jamie, who was murdered by her boy friend at her home two years ago this month.

“Some year we may switch it up and do a different event, but we'll certainly organize something” in honor of Jamie, she added.

This year's walk followed the popular Michelle Farkas Dewyea Turkey Trot route each Thanksgiving through the Junction neighborhoods and around Little Wolf Lake.

Along the way the committee posted about 16 signs, educating participants and the passing general public on some of the dramatic statistics associated with the growing national problem.

For example, Amanda said, one sign read: “Domestic violence is one partner in an intimate relationship of abusing the other.”

Domestic violence is unisexual in nature, she added.

As people pass the signs we hope they will be mindful of domestic violence and what happened to Jamie, Amanda said that morning after the participants left the staging area.

The first few steps for everyone was across the Little Wolf Creek bridge which was decorated with ribbons and blue balloons, fashioned by high school students and inflated that morning by Amanda's mother, Louise.

Before the event began Jamie's mother, Diane, read the following statement, fighting back tears at times.

“Each and every one of you is making a difference by joining us today. We are all taking a stand against relationship violence and abuse. We are ensuring that Jamie’s loss is not forgotten in our community by continuing to spread awareness, messages of hope, and education.

“It has been just over two years since my family was robbed of our joy-filled, Jamie. That’s 720 days, 8,640 minutes. Seconds that are too many to count. Our pain is real and always present.

“But…the community of Tupper Lake is on the verge of greatness. You see, through our efforts and with your help, we have begun training our neighbors in the Mentors in Violence Prevention program. We have provided scholarships to young women who are determined to carry on Jamie’s legacy. We are connected to and providing additional support to agencies in Northern New York that provide crisis relief and help to people trying to escape violent relationships. We are continuing to work with lawmakers to establish more protections for those who are abused. We are writing to legislators in hopes of bringing more financial support to upstate New York, a forgotten region at budget time when it comes to social programs like mental health and domestic violence prevention.

“My family and me thank you all for joining us in our fight to better our communities and recognizing that although our beloved Jamie is not here on Earth with us, her spirit lives on and continues to bring wellness to all. We know that she is with us today and every day. Thank you again for coming and supporting us. Also thank you to the Family and Friends of Jamie Rose Martin and the community for the countless hours all of you have put in in order for this event to take place today.”

The participants finished back at the Christian Center, where the raffle winners and the first place finishers were honored.

First across the finish line for the second year in a row was Tupper Lake's Hannah Klossner. Danielle Spencer was second and the husband and wife team of Sue and Sherm LaLonde shared third place. Cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 went to the winner, respectively.

“We received a lot of great feedback from a lot of people,” Amanda noted. “Many said it was very well organized and many said they really enjoyed it.”

Besides registration some of the proceeds from the Power Walk came from the sale of tee shirts. The committee still has a number of shirts to sell, in sizes medium and large. To buy one, supporters can log onto to Family and Friends of Jamie Rose Martin Facebook page or call Amanda at (518) 354-0540.