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Men walk in heels to raise domestic violence awareness, support Hospitality House

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To Lindale’s Sherryann Collier, Friday’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event was a very personal thing.

Men and women from all around walked down Broad Street in high heels and other women’s shoes to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“I’m a survivor of domestic violence of 15 years,” she said.

Collier said she came to the walk three years ago, which is when she was set up with an agency to get her help. She got a divorce and remarried Daniel Collier, with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.

If it wasn’t for her dad, Collier said, she didn’t know where she would be.

Participants gathered for the walk at Rotary Plaza by The Forum and marched to Heritage Park.

The goal was to raise domestic violence awareness, and as Erin Demesquita, community outreach coordinator for Hospitality House for Women, said, “You never understand a person’s situation unless you walk in their shoes.”

Hospitality House sponsors the annual event.

The walk raised around $6,800, she said. The money will cover the cost of the free event and the rest will directly benefit the shelter.

One in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to Demesquita.

Businesses also had several employees come to the walk.

Robert Smyth, of Coosa Valley Credit Union, has sat on the Walk a Mile committee for about six years. He and several of his colleagues came out in heels to show their support.

Coosa Valley Credit Union has a competition inside the company for the best decorated shoe, Smyth said. Nearly all the men participate, while the women decorate the heels.

Before the walk, several competitions were held. The winner of the sexiest leg contest was Georgia Power employee and Rome resident Bryan Goss.

The hairiest leg winner was Sean Gauldin, of Oxford, Alabama. Kayla Harris, who wore a Hardee’s Star, won the best mascot costume contest. Jeff Gilbert, also of Georgia Power, won the longest heel contest.