Lt. Tom Keller, retired from the Portland Police Dept., was one of the first police officers in the State of Maine, even the nation, to work alongside domestic violence advocates to create safe spaces for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
In the story of Family Crisis Services’ Shelter, Tom said of the early days of the movement, “I would have achieved no other success without the help and support of the men and women of the Portland Police Dept. and the staff at the Family Crisis Shelter who taught me patience and compassion.”
When Tom died on February 5th, still thinking others and still caring about the issue of domestic violence, he requested donations be made in his honor to Through These Doors. Thank you, Tom, for helping make our organization what it is today.
TTD’s former Executive Director, Lois Reckitt, shared some of the pictures in this post and wrote this tribute to Lt. Tom Keller:
How do I miss you… Let me count the ways…
On February 5th, the victims and survivors of domestic abuse lost a champion, and I lost a 40-year friend. In his last weeks, Tom and I were able to spend some quality time together. Much of that time was filled with reminiscences about our time together working toward justice at Family Crisis Services (now Through These Doors).
He confessed that as a Board member, he had voted against hiring me as Executive Director. He allowed as how it was a bad decision on his part. I, never having known that, forgave him for that misstep.
We remembered the Shelter sharks, the Russian chickens, the Thanksgivings with residents, the legislative victories and disappointments, the many things he carried and lifted for me. We discussed his PTSD in my tiny office surrounded by surplus food. He shared his counsel on police practices and culture. I helped him develop and articulate his feminist perspective on violence against women.
In his last days, we talked again about police and reform, how to talk as a community about what is possible and what it would take both culturally and financially. We agreed. We must think about race, poverty, power, and justice in new ways. We need to find new paths to healing and justice for abused women and their children. That is the mission we shared.
You live on in lives you saved and in the love that I hold for you in my heart.
Lois Galgay Reckitt