By Johnny Jackson
Dayle Brown said she has come a long way in dealing with the untimely death of her teenage granddaughter.
"I'm finally healing," said Brown, standing among the racks of children's clothes at the Duck-Duck-Goose Atlanta consignment sale in Morrow.
Brown's granddaughter, Brandie Danielle Davis, was brutally assaulted and killed by an acquaintance in December 2009. The acquaintance, Daryl Anthony Priestly, pleaded guilty in December 2010, and received a life sentence plus 10 years for her murder.
The 19-year-old's death served as inspiration for the children's consignment event, which began Wednesday and will end Saturday, according to sale organizer Phyllis Whelan. Whelan, a friend of the Brown family, owns and operates the local consignment franchise with her daughter Erika Trelles.
"We're happy to be here," said Whelan. "We're very thankful to be here, and we're glad that we're able to help the community."
Whelan said a portion of proceeds from Friday's sales will go to help support the mission of Haven House, a McDonough-based program and shelter for victims of domestic violence.
"It was a revelation to find out about this place," said Brown, who volunteered as a consignment sales consultant Friday.
Brown acknowledged being actively involved in the benefit sale was therapeutic to her as she deals with the loss of Davis on a day-to-day basis. She said, over time, she has made some successful strides in mending a broken heart.
"I felt responsible for her safety," Brown lamented. "She was my only grandchild for 11 years."
Davis' mother, Stephanie Garcia, has a chronic heart condition and could not be as active.
Brown said she helped her granddaughter transition to college. When Davis moved away to attend college at Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Ga., Brown took the lead in helping her move into her new apartment. Davis was later found dead in the apartment unit.
Garcia has told the Henry Daily Herald in previous interviews that young people are taking lessons from the tragedy of her daughter's death.
"In passing, she touched more lives, and changed more lives than she did when she was alive," Garcia said. "She has been an inspiration to a lot of people to actually make their lives better."
Local young people, 16-year-old Jessica Rivera and 12-year-old Jordin Richardson, volunteered to work a few hours at Friday's consignment sale.
Rivera and Richardson said they attended the sale, in part, to raise money for their school, Lighthouse Accelerated Christian Academy in Jonesboro. The academy brought children's clothing items for ages 2-12, as well as children's toys, to sell.
Rivera said she also appreciated that the sale supported a cause to help fund operations at the Haven House.
"We feel very fortunate, and we're excited about being here," added Tim Phillips, the music director and computer programming manager at the academy.
Haven House will take 10 percent of the proceeds earned at Friday's consignment sale only, according to Buffy Hanson, an administrative assistant at Haven House.
"It's great," Hanson said. "We need any help we can get."
Hanson said the event will help the non-profit get the word out about its existence, and inform people that there is help for victims of domestic abuse. "We have huge numbers that come to see us," she continued, "but we still know there's a large percentage of people who don't come to see us or call the police."
Whelan said the children's consignment sale event will continue Saturday, from 10 a.m., until 8 p.m. The sale has 60 consignors, and is being held at 1929 Mt. Zion Road, in the former Just for Feet location, next to Barnes & Noble in Morrow. To learn more about the consignment sale event, visit www.dkdkgoose.com/atlanta.
Hanson said those interested in donating to Haven House, or its Blessings Thrift Store, are asked to call (770) 288-6503, or visit the web site at www.henryhavenhouse.org. The thrift store is located at 86 Workcamp Road in McDonough, with proceeds benefiting Haven House.
Domestic violence victims are encouraged to call the non-profit's 24-hour crisis hotline at (770) 954-9229.