Volunteer dedicates 30-plus years to Advocates to End Domestic Violence | NevadaAppeal.com

Volunteer dedicates 30-plus years to Advocates to End Domestic Violence

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@swiftcom.com

Carol Toohey has helped people in Carson City move on from some of the toughest times they will ever face.

As a volunteer for Advocates to End Domestic Violence (AEDV), Toohey runs counseling groups and answers the crisis line. She's been doing it for more than 30 years.

"You're there to make their life better," said Toohey. "I can't tell anybody what to do with their life, but if I can plant one seed in their head and let them know that they have options, I'm doing my job."

Now a real estate agent with Century 21, Toohey started volunteering with AEDV back when she was staying at home with her children.

"I saw an article that they were looking for volunteers," said Toohey. "I like to think that maybe if I volunteer and educate enough, maybe some day we will get rid of domestic violence."

Toohey admits that the work can be hard and it's not for everybody, but the reward is seeing the impact it has on peoples' lives.

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"Sometimes I'll run into the people I counseled down the road and they say, 'Carol, I have my own home, and way, way back when I never would have thought I could get this far,'" said Toohey. "But they made changes in their life and they had a lot of people supporting them."

Volunteers like Toohey have helped AEDV grow from an operation out of a small two-bedroom apartment to a full-service program that operates a 51-bed shelter and offers numerous services for battered families.

"Carol not only gives her time but her resources as well," said AEDV Executive Director Lisa Lee. "Carol and her late husband Bill, helped build the shelter fences, poured the office sidewalks, and hauled truckloads of clothing for the parking lot sales. Carol has been a part of AEDV nearly from the beginning and is a large part of the reason why the agency has grown in services and programs."

She's volunteered at almost every Taste of Downtown event, working both shifts and staying to help clean up, and through Century 21 has been a major sponsor of the event, as well as the Light After Dark Walk Run. Toohey's children, Pam and Billy, come to volunteer every year, too.

For 15 years, Toohey showed AEDV staff every property she came across until finally landing on the one that now houses the organization's thrift store Classy Seconds on Gordon Street.

"She hung in with us when any other realtor would have given up on us," said Lee.

Every year Toohey requests the largest size T-shirt for the Taste event, decorating and altering it with lace, glitter, paint or even battery-operated blinking lights.

So for those wishing to thank Toohey for her years of service, simply look for the most well dressed volunteer scurrying around the event and lending a helping hand where she can.