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Wilton Resident Establishes Fund For Wilton Families Impacted By Domestic Violence

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Mark Nickel was the kind of person who would go out of his way to help others; so when he passed away unexpectedly in 2011, his mother promised herself she would leave a legacy in his name that would recognize and continue his compassionate nature. Marge Nickel, a Wilton resident for over 30 years, recently fulfilled that promise with the establishment of The Mark Nickel Fund for Wilton Families Impacted by Domestic Violence. The fund will be used to support services provided by the Domestic Violence Crisis Center to families in Wilton.

“For many years, domestic abuse was hidden behind closed doors and there were few, if any, services for families who were living in abusive relationships,” Marge said. “Over the last two decades, society has become much more aware of how widespread domestic violence is, the terrible toll it takes on families and the need for specific and effective services. The fact that we have a month – October – that draws attention to domestic violence across the country is testimony to that increased awareness.”

Because Marge, Mark and his beloved sister Melissa, who died tragically in 1985, felt very strongly about the issue of domestic violence, Marge decided it was a worthy cause through which to honor her son.

“I did not want Mark to die in vain,” she said. “I wanted to leave a legacy in his name from which abused women and children could benefit…something that would help them in crisis, that would help to shape their lives differently and that would, hopefully, divert their path in a positive direction.”

About a year after Mark died, Marge heard about the Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force and she contacted its chairperson, Jennifer McNamara. Through McNamara, Marge learned about DVCC and the multiple services it provides, and she knew it was the right place to establish The Mark Nickel Fund. And not only has Marge set up the fund to help Wilton families; she has also donated hundreds of items to DVCC’s SafeHouse in Norwalk.

“DVCC is a wonderful agency that provides so many needed services – SafeHouses, counseling, legal and many more,” she said. “Like any non-profit, it needs constant attention, and I encourage everyone to support it.”

Rachelle Kucera Mehra, DVCC’s Executive Director, said that everyone at the agency is overwhelmed by Marge’s gift.

“Her generosity brings to mind Mother Theresa’s observation that ‘intense love does not measure, it just gives’ – Marge not only speaks to the unshakable love of a mother for her children, but also beautifully demonstrates how pain becomes strength,” Kucera Mehra  said. “Her concern for those living in abusive relationships and her quiet determination to do something about it will go a long way toward providing assistance to the more than 100 families from the Wilton community who seek our services each year.”

Donations to The Mark Nickel Fund for Wilton Families Impacted by Domestic Violence should be made out to “DVCC” with a notation designating them for The Mark Nickel Fund. Donations may be made by check, credit card or online, or call 203-588-9100 for more information.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is committed to promoting the fundamental right of all individuals to be safe in their personal relationships. With a professional staff of 45 people who have years of experience and advocacy in the field of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, the agency offers confidential services at no charge, including court and legal services, group and individual counseling, SafeHouses and housing services, children’s services, medical advocacy, professional adult trainings, multilingual services, PeaceWorks prevention education, a 24-hour hotline (1-888-774-2900) and EsperanzaCT, a Spanish language website and 24-hour phone service line. DVCC is the only domestic violence agency serving the communities of Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton and Weston. For more information please call 203-588-9100 or visit www.dvccct.org.