LESLIE REEVES – YOU WILL BE MISSED BY MANY
Have you ever met someone for the first time and realized “they are your people”! That is what happened when I was introduced to Leslie Reeves. Leslie was opening her business “All About YOU! Studio” and she wanted to meet to learn more about joining the Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce. You could tell that starting this company was her mission – but at that time, I didn’t realize why.
She wanted to open a studio for yoga classes, fitness training, chair dancing and self-defense training. Self-defense training? Yes, and as I got to know Leslie, I realized that this was something that was near and dear to her heart and very important in her company’s mission. I later learned that Leslie was a domestic violence advocate who had a goal – train women and men, who were in domestic violence situations, to be able to defend themselves.
But Leslie was not a one-woman show – that was not her style. She created and surrounded herself with a tribe -- safe places, counselors, food pantries, groups, non-profit organizations – she had them all on speed dial, to help anyone who needed assistance. Many people were not aware of all that Leslie did, and, for a good reason. Confidentiality often meant life or death for her clients. She would move her classes to different locations so that only those who were invited knew where the class was for that event.
I remember having breakfast with Leslie and I asked her what she was doing after our meeting.
She said she was helping a woman and her two children move out of their abusive household while the husband was at work. That is who she was.
There is no doubt that she became very vulnerable, advocating in the way that she did. But honestly, I do not think she would have stepped back from any situation if it meant helping someone else. The tragedy to this situation is that she lost her life in the same way that she protected others.
Her children were her life. She would show me funny pictures of them or tell me about some crazy stories. They loved their mother and my heart goes out to her children and her family. My hope is that as a proud member of her tribe, that we can all come together to remember Leslie’s legacy in a way for which she would be proud.
Some words that best describe Leslie – powerful, lovable, strong (inside and out), gracious, vulnerable and funny.
My friend, Leslie – I am so sorry how this situation ended but I would have not wanted to miss … the dance … with you.
“I’m glad I didn’t know, the way that it all would end, the way it all would go, our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance. Love you, girl.”
Dawn Mushill - Executive Director, Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce
Parents at St. John St. John Neumann Catholic School have started a tuition assistance fund for her children if anyone would like to consider donating.