Amazing Mom: Lisa Spicknall-Horner

Filed under: Amazing Parents, Divorce & Custody, Health & Safety: Babies, Resources, Bullying

Lisa Spicknall-Horner helps victims of domestic violence find their way. Credit: Courtesy of Lisa Spicknall-Horner


Amazing Mom: Lisa Spicknall-Horner, advocate for victims of domestic violence

Lisa's Family:
Husband: Elliot Horner, married 2 years; Kids: Zachary, 7, Liam, 5, Destiny, forever 3, Richie, forever 2

Lisa Lives In: Glen Burnie, Maryland

Why Lisa Is Amazing: Lisa Spicknall-Horner started dating her first husband at age 16 and he proceeded to abuse her for most of their eight-year relationship. In December 1998, she filed for a protective order against him. This should have prevented him from buying a gun, but the order was never entered into the state's database that's used for handgun checks.

Several months later, he bought a gun.

On September 8, 1999, he picked up their 2-year-old son, Richie, and 3-year-old daughter, Destiny, to take them on vacation. At 4 a.m. the following day, Lisa got a call from his father saying her ex-husband had been carjacked and the carjacker had taken the children.

The devastating panic became the ultimate grief when she learned there was no carjacking: Her husband had shot and killed both children.

"He had always made threats that I would never see the children again," she says, "but he had never been abusive toward the children -- only toward me."

While mourning the loss of her children, Lisa found out that there was a high error rate in protective orders in Maryland. With that knowledge, she decided she couldn't let what happened to her happen to anyone else.

"I realized that if I didn't do something to help people, no one else would," she says. "When I went in to file the protective order, there was no one there to say, 'You want to ask for supervised visitation' and all the different things that I should have known.There wasn't anybody to do that. So I made it my choice that I needed to help people to do that."

Two months after Richie and Destiny were killed, Lisa began speaking out to whomever would listen. And many people did. About a year after their deaths, she started working as a victim advocate for the Stephanie Roper Foundation -- now the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center -- educating survivors and victims' families on their rights, helping them find an attorney and getting them counseling. Lisa's efforts have also resulted in developing an anti-domestic violence fund in the state of Maryland that assists with hiring additional personnel, computer staffing and other necessities to make sure protective orders are entered into the state's database.

"It's been pretty amazing," says Lisa. "I've seen a lot of changes. I always tell Destiny and Richie's story, because it helps keep them here with me, and I want people to remember this does happen. It happens to real people. Two beautiful children lost their lives for no reason."

Today, Lisa works as a victim's advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and helps guide survivors through the criminal and civil justice systems.

Lisa's Mom Peggy Fields Says: "Lisa took this horrible situation and made something out of it, and I'm very proud of her. Her work with victims helps her and gave her a lot of strength and courage to go on. People who have been through such a tragedy get a lot of strength from being with people who know what you've gone through. And Lisa helps them."

Recognition: State of Maryland Governor's Victim Assistance Award; Department of Corrections STARR Award for Victim Assistance; Charles County Sheriff's Office Victim Accommodation Award; Center for Abused Persons Domestic Violence Survivor Award; Forgiving Mothers Straight from the Heart Award of Appreciation; House of Ruth: A Line in the Sand

Lisa's Guilty Pleasures:
"Pampering myself as much as I can, manicures, pedicures, massages -- whatever I can do to take a little time for myself and relax."

Lisa's Best Advice: "Cherish every minute you have with your children. Take lots of pictures and videos. Hug your kids and tell them how much you love them every day."

Related:
Amazing Mom: Stephanie Clark

Want to see who else made the list? Click here for the rest of AOL's 2010 Amazing Moms!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.