From tragedy to triumph: The making of the Blue Butterfly House

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(GTU) – Debbie Heisler and Suzie Abbott are September’s Community Advocates.

Suzie and Debbie met in an elevator at a courthouse, each there for different reasons, but soon realized their stories included some of the same people. Debbie’s son, David Heisler, was murdered by his ex-girlfriend/daughter’s Mom after he was awarded full custody of their then 8-year-old daughter. Francis Lee McCard, who pleaded guilty to “kidnapping resulting in murder” was sentenced in Federal Court to 29 years in prison. This is in addition to his sentence of 46 years in Arizona, totaling 75 years behind bars. 

Suzie’s story is a bit different, but still, heart-wrenching. Her daughter Kristina Lewis was involved in an accident that left her disabled, and she passed away in 2010 as a result of that accident. Kristina’s daughters (2, ages 7 & 9 at the time) then lived with their father, but Suzie is now raising them.

These two amazing women, now tasked with raising the kids who were left behind by their tragedies, came together to start something truly great. The Blue Butterfly House, named after David’s favorite color and Kristina’s love for butterflies, provides a safe facility for children to have a neutral location for court-ordered supervised visits with parents or other loved ones. 

The facility may also be used for grandparent respite, grandparent support groups, and other community service needs in Southern Utah. The Blue Butterfly House also provides a safe and non-judgmental environment for children and parents to have parent time exchanges.

The Blue Butterfly House hopes to help by providing this service in a safe, neutral, third-party facility at a reasonable cost, or in some cases for free. The need for this type of community service truly exists, more than you may realize. The Blue Butterfly House provides alternatives that many parents and loved ones need to maintain a relationship with their children while working out other court-ordered issues.

So for overcoming immense adversity and doing something absolutely remarkable, Debbie Heisler and Suzie Abbott are this month’s Community Advocates.

Nominate Someone

If you know a person who has helped someone in need, please fill out this form to nominate them!

The most generous nominee will be selected and announced on Good Things Utah weekly. Each month, a new winner will be featured on Good Things Utah as recognition for their service. They will also receive a gift certificate for dinner and a movie.

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