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Tours a WIN for abuse victims

December 21, 1997

Tours a WIN for abuse victims

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For years, Darlene Elders withstood a marriage with an alcoholic and abusive husband.

She turned to Women In Need Victim Services Inc. of Chambersburg for a year of counseling, help in filing a protection-from-abuse order, and support through a long divorce process.

On Sunday night, for the fourth year, Elders gave back to the private, nonprofit organization by opening the doors to her home to hundreds of people.

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Elders, owner of the historic Ragged Edge Inn, a bed and breakfast in Chambersburg, hosted a candlelight tour of the mansion from 6 to 9 p.m. to benefit Women In Need.

"WIN provides services free of charge and I took advantage of their services at one time. This is my thank you to them. This is my way of giving back," Elders said.

Last year, nearly 1,800 people walked through the festively decorated home, which is Franklin County's largest residence.

In the first half hour Sunday, close to 250 had already toured and many were lined up on the steps leading to the front porch.

"I think some are here for the tour, some are here for WIN and others are here for both. I really think that it's a combination," said Barbara Channing, executive director of the victim services organization.

A flood of memories came back to brothers Don and Rich Small, who lived on a nearby farm from 1926 to 1943, as they toured each floor of the home with their wives, Mary and Marilyn.

"We came back for old times' sake," said Rich Small.

Don Small, of Mont Alto, Pa., and Rich Small, of Waynesboro, Pa., said they remember sledding in the winter and playing at the mansion with their five other siblings and the grandchildren of Col. Moorehead C. Kennedy, who built the home around the turn of the century.

Kennedy was president of the Cumberland Valley Railroad and vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The home had a number of owners over the years until Elders bought the property eight years ago. It took almost five years to restore the home, room by room, she said.

Money collected at the candlelight tour this year will go toward repairs on WIN's shelter for battered women and other expenses not covered by federal and state funding, Channing said.

Last year the organization collected more than $1,100 in donations at the tour, she said.

WIN was founded 20 years ago to provide services to rape victims. A year later, the agency expanded to provide services to victims of domestic violence.

In 1979, the first shelter for battered women opened, and in 1985 the organization began serving victims of all serious crimes, including rape and domestic violence.

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