‘Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past’

‘Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past’

Editor's Note: Jesse Doiron, an award- winning advocate for victims of crime, teetered on death’s door after a North Texas assault. He has recounted his story on national television, in victim's meetings, and even at prison rehabilitation classes with violent offenders. It is his belief that sharing his story has not only helped others, but helped a part of him heal from the violent attack he suffered, as well. He has championed the rights of victims throughout the state with the Bridges to Life program, and is inviting anyone who has been a victim of crime, has a family member who has been the victim of crime, or anyone whose life has been touched by criminal acts to come share in the healing process during the Jefferson County  Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Crime.




Jesse Doiron, now a husband and father of two, would never have a chance to teach his son to ride a bike or see his daughter pick out her favorite outfit for the first day of kindergarten had two men bent on killing him succeeded in their endeavor. Since recovered, Doiron still recalls the day he was left to die, beaten and bloody in a freak North Texas snowstorm, just as vividly as the day it happened.

Trying to be a Good Samaritan, Doiron picked up two hitchhikers – men who ultimately beat Doiron in the head with a hammer, threw him from a moving van, returned to run him over with aforementioned van and left him on the side of a feeder road in a snowbank. Somehow mustering up enough strength to walk on broken legs and feet, with a collapsed lung and too many other injuries to list, Doiron only survived the ordeal after he flung his half-dead body in front of a city snowplow truck. He spent the next several months in recovery.

Years later, however, Doiron was still seeking closure. A relative by marriage, Chris Castillo, told Doiron about a program called Bridges to Life, which allowed victims to share their stories with other victims.

"Chris (Castillo) noticed I needed something and he recommended I attend one of these meetings and share my story. It was an awful experience for me," Doiron recalled.

Doiron said he was petrified to share his story, ashamed of having been a victim to a crime he felt he should have been able to avoid.

"I said I'd never do it again, but afterwards I felt much better. The other victims were kind, compassionate, considerate, empathetic. The sense of camaraderie and companionship was very fulfilling."

Doiron has been a part of growing the Bridges to Life program ever since. For his role in championing victim causes, he received the Jefferson Award in 2004, followed by the Governor's Award for Restorative Justice in Texas and the Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award in 2007. He is now active in the restorative justice movement through the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont and BTL, spearheads an honors seminar at Lamar University called "Victims, Criminals and Punishment," and serves on the Jefferson County Coalition for Victims of Crime. It is his role with the Coalition that brings Doiron to share his tragic story all over again.

In honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Doiron’s group is sponsoring a Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Crime, taking place at the Jefferson County Courthouse – Jury Impaneling Room on Thursday, April 14, starting at 6 p.m. During the event, victims, survivors and family members are given an opportunity to share their grief and encourage one another in the healing process. The community event includes music, poetry and a tribute to honor crime victims and their families, according to Misty Craver, chairman of the Jefferson County Crime Victims’ Coalition.

With keynote speaker Cindy Fertitta of the Rape and Suicide Crisis Center of Southeast Texas drawing from years of experience with victims who are subjected to the emotional, financial and social effects of crime, the event is focused on the theme of hope in things to come and remembrance of things already foregone.

“’Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past’ captures the spirit and mission of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” said Craver. “The past that we honor points to a future when all victims are respected, the laws to protect them are enforced and the resources they need are in place and accessible to them. Justice demands no less.”

The Jefferson County Coalition for Victims of Crime is made up of local government, civic and state organizations and individuals who work to provide victims and offenders with treatment, counseling, support and education.  For more information on the activities or services of the coalition, call Craver at (409) 833-3377.