Written by Staff
By Jess Paniszczyn
December 5, 2003 should have been a day like any other for Waco resident Carolyn Thomas, but it was not. In the spirit of cordial friendship, she gave her ex-boyfriend, recently paroled after four years in prison, a ride to Ft. Worth to see his parole officer. That ride would forever change her life as she explained during Chocolate and Chic, a luncheon benefiting Brighter Tomorrows, which was held in the Irving Convention Center on March 27.
“Once we got back to Waco, he asked if he could come over to the apartment,” Thomas said. “By me not having a safety plan, not knowing what I was going to do when he got out, my idea was just to be cordial to him: to keep him at bay. Because over the course of those eight years, he would always tell me, ‘if you leave me, I will kill you.’
“He and I began to tussle back and forth for the pistol. He gained control of it and shot my mother in the stomach,” she said. “He then dragged me into the living room and shot me in the face at pointblank range. At that time, I didn’t know what my injuries were or how bad my face was. I remember touching my face and it felt something like a sponge.”
“Brighter Tomorrows received 4,769 hot-line calls, provided shelter, food, clothing, resources and comfort to 501 adult victims and 598 children in our Irving and Grand Prairie emergency safe shelters,” said Tina Strand, vice-president of the board of directors. “We had clients in shelter for a total of 14,221 nights. We assisted most clients in creating a safety plan for themselves and their children, and served 39,880 meals.”