Millie May was compassionate and bold. She was a single
mom, a generous soul, and a great cook. She loved people!
Millie would do anything for anyone, with gusto!
In 1978, Millie’s good friend, who we’ll call Betsy, was arrested for killing her husband. Millie knew he had been abusing her severely for years.
Betsy had confided in Millie many times. Law enforcement had been called, but back then, they didn’t know what to do, so nothing was done. Millie didn’t know how to help, either. Not yet.
Out of desperation and hopelessness, Betsy had made the abuse stop. She killed her abusive husband.
Charged with murder, Betsy’s case went all the way from Hood River County to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a major breakthrough for victims of domestic violence, Betsy was acquitted.
While Betsy’s case was making its way toward acquittal, Helping Hands Against Violence was born, thanks largely to Millie May.
Millie now understood that behind the doors of many of our neighbors, domestic violence was ruining the lives of women and children. She and her friend, Wanda Smith, took the lead in a local Hood River County movement to provide safety for victims of domestic violence.
When the need for a safe house became clear, Millie mortgaged her own home to help purchase the land for our shelter. Grant funds were then secured to build the shelter.
For that act of great generosity, and so many others, Millie May is the namesake of our Legacy Circle.
Millie May passed away in 2015, but because of her generosity, the shelter she made possible lives on, helping women, children, and even men, find safety from domestic violence.
We will always remember this: Because of Millie May, women have the help they need to escape domestic violence, find safety and hope, and change their lives.