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Tipton County woman hopes to turn her family’s tragedy to help for domestic abuse victims

TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn.-- A Tipton County group has created an emergency house for women and men fleeing a relationship domestic abuse.

It's opening couldn't come at a more fitting time. October is domestic violence awareness month.

The shelter comes years after heartache and loss. It's one non-profit's goal to rescue victims before it's too late.

"She was my best friend, and we did everything together growing up."

When Andrea Hopkins talks about her younger sister Amanda, she can't help but smile.

"She was just a joy, she was very quick witted, she was funny, she was smart," said Hopkins.

The sisters grew up in the small, tight-knit community of Randolph in Tipton County about an hour or so outside of Memphis. Amanda married her high school sweetheart and had a child.

"She was actually a pharmacy tech and was going to school to become a pharmacist."

But in the summer of 2003 Amanda's bright future came to an end.

"She turned 23 on July the 11th. He killed her on the 15th, so it was just after her birthday," explained Hopkins.

Amanda's husband was convicted of murdering her.

"The family saw some red flags, but she always had a reason or an excuse as to why she had the bruise or why this or why that and he was very controlling. He tried to separate her from the family and wouldn't let her drive," she said.

Through the loss, Hopkins realized her family wasn't the only one suffering and decided she had to make a difference.

"I started Amanda's Way in 2014 because it was an answer to a problem that existed in our community," she said.

The non-profit, Amanda's Way, has helped women start over.

Hopkins said there are often obstacles for those trying to leave abusive relationships.

"A lot of times for financial reasons or for fear they go back, and that's what we want to prevent," she said.

But Hopkins realized she wanted to do more. A few months ago the group purchased a house in Covington.

It's a home where women or men and their children can go to begin the process of starting over--for free.

"I want them to have a place they can go, a place where they feel safe, a place where they can go and know they don't have to live in fear or danger," she explained.

Up to 11 people can stay in the home at a time. The rooms are designed so that families can stay together. Everything inside has been donated by local businesses, churches or people wanting to give back.

Andrea said through the home her sister's spirit will live on.

She hopes Amanda's story can save another family in the future.

"There may be a fear; there may be what will people think? But it's OK. It's not the worst thing in the world to have to come out and say you've been abused. The worst thing in the world is to die because you didn't."

The home is set to open in October.

It is completely run on donations and community help.

For more information or to donate click here.

There is a car show fundraiser coming up on October 15 at Brighton High School from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.