Audrey Mabrey's husband tried to rape her, held a knife to her throat, beat her with a hammer, soaked her in gasoline, then tossed a lighted candle at her and set her on fire.
Severely burned, she spent more than two months in a medically induced coma in Tampa General Hospital, and she has had numerous surgeries since.
Had she recognized that she was in danger, she says, she could have benefited from an organization like Community Action Stops Abuse, which houses victims of domestic abuse and raises awareness about family violence.
Mabrey's powerful speech was the keynote address at CASA's ninth annual "Good Night's Sleep" luncheon, attended by more than 200 guests in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
Board president Trudy Howe presented the Pillar of Peace Award to the staff of WFTS-Ch. 28 for its "Taking Action Against Domestic Violence" initiative.
Executive director Linda Osmundson, who likes to tell people that she buys her wardrobe from CASA's thrift store, introduced colleagues who also modeled items they had purchased there.
Members of the All Children's Hospital Guild Seminole/Largo Branch celebrated a milestone at the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club, the site of the group's October golf tournament.
Since its inception in 1976, the organization has raised more than $1 million for the ACH Foundation through bake sales, fashion shows, art festivals, golf tournaments, Bunco games, the Seminole Pow Wow and other events. The art festival the guild sponsored for many years on the campus of the veterans hospital at Bay Pines drew in about $423,000 of that total, according to Sally Day, a co-chair of the celebration with Mindy LaGrande.
Day also praised PJ's Oyster Bar in Indian Rocks Beach; when the restaurant occasionally clears the dollar bills patrons pin to its walls, it passes the money on to the guild.
The group started in 1976 with 12 women; founding members Carol Decker, Nancy Hamilton and LaGrande continue to be active. The founding co-presidents, Wilma Fordham, who now lives in Ellijay, Ga., and Harriet DeLoach, who lives in St. Petersburg, also keep up with the group.
The Seminole/Largo branch is one of nine guilds made up of more than 600 volunteers who support the hospital.