July 6, 2006 — Holly Dunn Pendleton, a member of the RAINN Speakers Bureau, was recently honored in Washington at the 2006 Jefferson Awards.
Holly is the only surviving victim of a serial killer and rapist, who was recently executed in Texas for his crimes. Since her attack, Holly has worked as an advocate for victims of sexual assault and created Holly's House, a center for victims of violent crimes in Evansville, Indiana.
Holly was one of only five winners selected for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service for using her painful experience to educate others about sexual assault.
"The scars will never completely go away but I have learned to live past the trauma, and I have focused my energy toward helping others," she says. The award has helped Holly temper the memories that have arisen over news of the execution, and has helped her remain focused on the positive.
The prestigious Jefferson Awards recognize outstanding community and public service in America. Awards are presented at the national and local levels. The local winners are "Unsung Heroes" — ordinary individuals who are performing extraordinary deeds — mostly without recognition.
From each community, the Jefferson Awards Board selects one local winner to come to Washington to participate in the National Ceremony. Over 60 U.S. Senators present the awards to recipients from their states. The Board of Selectors picks five of these to receive the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for "Outstanding Community Service Benefiting Local Communities."