October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Raymond F. Dilger

In memory of Raymond F. Dilger

Uncle Ray was known in his community for his big heart. His entire life he had a servant-leader attitude, doing what he could for others while he built his own successful business and racing career. He extended kindness to a young man who lost his parents at a young age; he gave him a job and parental guidance. A number of years later, that young man started dating my uncle’s daughter. When the relationship became abusive, Ray helped his daughter leave the relationship and find safety.

Her abuser began threatening my family and said that he’d kill my uncle. The abuser had a criminal record and should not have had easy access to a gun, but several loopholes existed allowing opportunities for any convicted criminal to legally get a gun. The abuser shot and killed my uncle Ray because Ray wouldn’t tell the abuser where his daughter was hiding as she pursued her legal options. Police continually told my family nothing could be done; no laws could be applied to stopping the abuser. Red Flag Laws could have saved my uncle. Thirty-two years later, two of the four loopholes allowing his killer to get a gun still remain. There’s no excuse for that.

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