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The 9th Story

Dr. Reinhold Brand, Phil Munson, and the Evonik family understand first-hand the impact of domestic violence. In 2011, a production supervisor was visiting his girlfriend along with his son when her ex-boyfriend showed up.

The ex-boyfriend entered the home and shot and killed all three of them. Rocked by the loss of his friend and co-worker, Phil Munson, Hopewell Site Manager and Chairperson of The James House Board of Directors, was drawn even closer to the mission. Phil now has a strengthened conviction that his work in this field is essential.

Dr. Reinhold Brand, then Senior Vice President and General Manager of Evonik Corporation, believes that Evonik should support communities and nonprofit organizations in areas where Evonik has facilities because it is the right thing to do. He encourages employees at every level of the company to do the same.

The 8th Story

It’s a difficult task to win a custody case when your client is in jail. But that didn’t stop Chris Bernhardt, former pro bono fellow with Hunton and Williams LLP, to take on the challenge. Chris felt compelled to help Carolina, a domestic violence survivor who immigrated to the USA with her husband. Carolina’s husband, in the USA with authorization, was an abuser.

After a violent outburst, Carolina called the police and requested a protective order. Her husband told her that if she assisted the prosecutor, he would have her deported. Carolina testified anyway. True to his word, he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Carolina was arrested, and her children were returned to her husband. With the help of Chris and 2 other attorneys, coordinated by The James House, Carolina was released on a U Visa. A year later she reunited with her children on Christmas day.

Since serving as a pro bono fellow with Hunton and Williams LLP, Chris is now an Associate with the Bucci & Dix law firm.

Music: Traveler’s Song, Piano and Strings Session Version By Future of Forestry

The 7th Story

Becky McDonough, Executive Vice President of the Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce, sees The James House as a well-run business that has raised the bar for profit and nonprofit businesses.

The Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization serving 400 businesses to promote economic growth, workforce development, and community integration. In 2001 The James House joined the chamber with the goal of educating businesses about the impact of sexual and domestic violence and stalking in the community. To this end, The James House offers cost-free training and educational programming for local businesses, houses of faith, and schools.

McDonough says, “The James House takes a very sensitive and difficult subject and breaks it down in a way that we’re all comfortable addressing it and wanting to help eradicate it in our community.”

The 6th Story

Grants Chairperson for the John Randolph Foundation, Linda Hyslop served as an educator in the Hopewell Public School System for 43 years. As a teacher she was exposed to the abuse her students endured, and it became her personal mission to give young people hope for their future. Linda first volunteered with The James House in the 90’s by answering the crisis hotline. Today she continues to volunteer on a subcommittee of The James House Board of Directors.

The James House and the John Randolph Foundation share a common past and a common mission. They were founded two years apart, in 1989 and 1991 respectively, at the John Randolph Medical Center. Upon the sale of the hospital to HCA in 1995, both left to become independent organizations. The James House was the John Randolph Foundation’s first grantee and continues to receive financial support today.

The 5th Story

When Daniel was 8, his mom’s brother moved in. While his mom was at work, his uncle turned into a monster. Daniel says his darkest moment was when he finally got the courage to tell his mom. She didn’t believe him. She confronted the uncle about the abuse but this only made things worse.

Daniel buried his pain for a long time but he was overwhelmed by flashbacks and anxiety attacks. He called The James House, and started going to a support group with Jane Clayborne. Daniel says “I think if it hadn’t been for The James House I might be dead. Sharing my story and hearing the other guys tell their stories was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

To learn more about The James House’s support groups, call (804) 458-2840 or email

The 4th Story

Abusers often isolate survivors of domestic violence geographically and socially. This effect can be heightened in immigrant communities. For immigrants, language barriers, uncertain legal statuses, and being away from family can make the isolation and abuse even worse. Samina Abdullah went through The James House volunteer training and was inspired to make a difference for immigrants experiencing this isolation. She organizes weekly dinners for her local Indian-Pakistani community to build support systems for immigrant families.

For Samina, it’s not about changing the whole world. It’s about taking responsibility for your own sphere of influence. She believes we are designed so magnificently that in order to make a difference, we simply need to live up to this design – to be compassionate, merciful, and wise. Once that spark of self-worth sets in, it cannot be extinguished.

The 3rd Story

Bill Lightfoot served in law enforcement for 36 years. His last few years were spent working on domestic violence and elder abuse. For Bill, every client is personal.

As a police officer, Bill witnessed the effects of domestic violence on children. The impact is so great that 14% of men and 36% of women who are incarcerated suffered childhood abuse. He believes police need to not only respond to domestic violence but respond appropriately. The James House provides that kind of training. He knows that when he refers them to The James House that they will get the help they need to gain control of their lives and move forward.

The 2nd Story

In 1989, the Sexual Assault Outreach Program was created at John Randolph Medical Center. This would eventually become The James House. The original mission was to provide emotional support for sexual assault survivors to get through a necessary yet invasive PERK (a physical evidence recovery kit).

The James House grew into a freestanding nonprofit organization, and today, John Randolph Medical Center’s support for the program remains strong. The James House works closely with the hospital, training emergency room staff to recognize and respond to abuse while providing on-site services and support groups.

The 1st Story

Over the course of her marriage, Jill sustained over 90 broken bones and 2 miscarriages. After 12 years, she took her children and ran for her life. This is her story.

Jill’s story is the first installment in our video series called The 26th Story. Over the course of 2014, we will celebrate our 25th anniversary by sharing 25 stories for 25 years, releasing a new story every other week. All of these stories are leading up to the reveal of our 26th story at the end of the year. We hope you will join us by keeping up with these videos as they are released and following us on social media.

The James House provides support, advocacy and education for people affected by sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking, to empower them to become healthy, safe, and self-sufficient. The only nonprofit agency in the Tri-Cities area accredited by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, all James House services are cost-free and confidential. For help, call our 24 hour crisis hotline (804) 458-2840, visit, or email us at