- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) When Libby Collis learned of the sniper attacks two months ago, she immediately thanked God that she was in a nursing home.
As a resident at Carriage Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Spotsylvania County, she felt safe and protected. But the 63-year-old, who uses a wheelchair, also wanted to comfort those who lost loved ones.
"No matter how handicapped you are, there's always something that you can do to help," she said.
Miss Collis was among the 20 residents at the nursing home who decorated more than a dozen Christmas ornaments recently for the family of sniper victim Kenneth Bridges, 53, of Philadelphia, who was slain Oct. 11 while pumping gas in Spotsylvania, just outside Fredericksburg.
"The family's perception of Fredericksburg is where their father and husband died, and we want to show them that's not who we are," said Deborah Hertle, Carriage Hill's chaplain.
Miss Hertle is one of the area ministers participating in the "Overcoming Evil with Goodness" campaign. The campaign was started by the Grace Church in Spotsylvania with the goal of raising $20,000 for Mr. Bridges' family and helping the community heal, said the Rev. Ernest Custalow, the church's senior pastor.
"Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and this campaign is one way to do it," he said. The campaign has raised about $6,700 and will end today. About 300 area churches were asked to collect an offering this past Sunday for the fund, Mr. Custalow said.
Carriage Hill residents spent two hours decorating ornaments with ribbon, glitter or lace.
"I think it's wonderful that we are doing this and hope that it helps them," said resident Isabelle Pitts, 90.
She said that during the sniper attacks, she worried about her daughters, Margaret Freeman and Toni Marshall, both of Fredericksburg, who visit her every other day.
Two suspects have been arrested and are awaiting trial in Virginia for shootings in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., during October. They also are charged with earlier shootings in other states.
Mr. Custalow and other organizers plan to travel to Philadelphia to present a check to Mr. Bridges' widow, Jocelyn Bridges. The money will be used for the education of the six Bridges children and for other financial needs, he said.
Donations may still be made to the Kenneth Bridges Memorial Fund, c/o Grace Church of Fredericksburg, 1141 Heatherstone Drive, Fredericksburg, Va. 22407.

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