MARINETTE – Friends paid tribute Wednesday to Trish Waschbisch, a domestic violence counselor in Marinette who was murdered.
“It’s a great, great thing that we can do for such a beautiful woman who did so many great things for so many people in this community,” said her friend Carmen Hishimoto.
They gathered outside the shelter, where they say Waschbisch greeted every domestic abuse victim with warmth and compassion.
“I was a victim of domestic abuse at one point in time and she helped me out, helped me get back on my feet and let me know that there was somebody out there who cared,” said Hishimoto.
The Rainbow House will now bear the name of the counselor who lost her life to the one thing she was trying to prevent.
“It was a huge tragedy. It was such a shock to everyone. It didn’t sink in for a long long time that this could even happen to such a wonderful person,” said Hishimoto.
In April of 2013, the 45-year-old Waschbisch was stabbed to death. Her boyfriend, Brent Kamepf was convicted and is now serving life in prison.
“I think that she is a sad example that domestic violence can impact anyone. It hits one out of four women in the United States and even people who work at facilities such as the Rainbow House are not immune,” said Courtney Olson, the executive director of the Patricia J. Waschbisch Center Against Domestic Violence.
Though this plaque is a physical reminder of Waschbisch, those who knew her say her true legacy will live on in their hearts.
“Trish was incredibly warm. She felt like everybody’s sister. She had this incredible smile and an optimism to her that was unwavering,” said Olson.
Her friends and colleagues say they will continue the work Waschbisch began, until every victim is safe, and domestic violence is stopped.
The Patricia Waschbisch Center Against Domestic Violence serves Oconto, Marinette and Menominee counties.
The center has a confidential, toll-free, 24-hour hotline.
That number is 800-956-6656.