LINN CREEK, Mo. — For the past nine years, a boy has celebrated his birthday and started new school years without his mother: Brandi Matthews, murdered by a man who had once been her boyfriend.
That man is now serving a 20-year sentence; but Brandi’s son will live with this reality for his entire life. That thought troubles Brandi’s brother, Colby Callahan, the father of five sons. Callahan empathizes with his nephew and every child who is left without a parent, and he has translated that empathy into action.
This weekend Citizens Against Domestic Violence (CADV) will hold its annual Make the Break Fun Run/Walk. On September 13 at 10:00 a.m. in the Linn Creek City Park, the race will be run in memory of Brandi Matthews, who disappeared nine years ago, in September. Registration is $25 and another $15 for each additional family member.
Callahan will not be running this year. His empathy drove him to enrich the Make the Break 5K by transforming it into a family event. He has arranged for a Kids’ Play Area, for barbecued meats, and a silent auction. One item to be auctioned came from the head chef at Heroes Sports Saloon Lake of the Ozarks: he donated an autographed Kansas City Chiefs football from the 1990s. Several area restaurants also donated gift certificates that have been bundled into prize packages of three so that the winning bidder will be able to sample the taste and atmosphere at three area restaurants in exchange for their generosity. These are but two of the quality items that will go to the highest bidder.
Callahan strives to keep the memory of his sister alive through his CADV efforts and every day at home, where a large photograph of Brandi Matthews sits. All his sons recognize her and hear stories about her love for her son and about the great person that she was. Callahan’s youngest son, now five, never met her, but he tells his parents about dreams in which Brandi befriends him—in a way, even this child, who will never know his aunt, still has fond memories of her.
What Callahan has learned is that tomorrow is not promised to any of us so we must live fully and be fully aware. He’d like everyone to be aware that domestic violence happens everywhere, even at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. CADV emphasizes this point as well, explaining on its website that domestic violence may occur in long-term or short-term relationships and “in all racial, cultural, socioeconomic, occupational, and religious groups.” As a consequence, CADV provides a 24-hour emergency hotline at 888-809-SAFE (7233) so that victims can talk to someone trustworthy, someone who will help them Make the Break, but if anyone is in immediate imminent danger, CADV advises the use of 9-1-1 to call police.
Callahan advises that we must all be vigilant and aware that domestic violence occurs in our neighborhoods. He urges members of the community to support programs that spread the word and that help victims make the break
All are welcome to join Citizens Against Domestic Violence on September 13, 2014 for a 9 a.m. registration and/or check-in before the 10 a.m. Make the Break 5K Fun Run/Walk in Linn Creek City Park. A barbeque and the silent auction will follow. All will be winners because they have given their time and hearts to a good cause while remembering one lost, Brandi Matthews.