Window of hope opens from tragedy

When Frank Dodd heard that Kim Baucom Conover had been shot and killed by her husband, who then killed himself, the news was both shocking and terribly familiar.

"It hit me like a ton of bricks," said the Luma Restaurant sous chef. "I couldn't even move." But he knew he had to do something.

Part of Dodd's horror stemmed from memories of his own childhood, and the rest from the role that Conover had played in his life.

In 1981, two weeks before Dodd entered eighth grade in Petaluma, his father killed his mother and then committed suicide. His parents had been divorced twice at the time; his father lived in Arizona and his mother was engaged to another man.

"Her wedding was getting close, and she called my dad up to have what she called &‘the perfect last weekend as a family'. We rode bikes and spent time together, and then at the end he killed her and then himself," said Dodd. "The whole thing was so weird and awful. One minute we were hanging out and the next, it was all over."

In an ironic and heartbreaking twist, Dodd said that one person in particular helped him get through those first few months after it happened — his girlfriend, Kim Baucom.

"When we were young, Kim had such an attentive ear and was always so happy - she was a strength to be around during such a difficult time," Dodd said. "To have the exact same thing happen to her was just so hard to believe."

When Dodd learned of Conover's murder, he immediately knew he wanted to help. He met with Trisha Almond, CEO of Guided to Safety — a local organization to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault - and said he wanted to begin an educational program for teens in relationships and a charity for the Conover children, to be funded by a portion of the proceeds from his new Cold Shoulder Ice Cream business.

Dodd's business is starting out small but enthusiastically - so far, he's raised about $1,000 by pedaling an ice cream cart while not working at Luma.

Almond said she was thrilled with the idea and sees the opportunity as a great starting point.

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