Debbie Parnham's Story
Brent Lorentz was
16-years old when he was walking down the street with his friends in his quiet
middle class neighborhood. Suddenly, violence came upon him. A group of
teenagers in a car drove up next to him. One of the riders pointed a 12-gauge
shotgun out of the window and shot him point-blank in the face. Brent survived
for 7-days in intense pain before he died on December 12, 1992. Six months
later, the TV show "Cops" aired grim photos of Brent lying mortally
wounded in the street and a tipster led police to the 19-year old shooter. He
was sentenced to 25-years in prison.
Devastated Mother Decides to Do Something.
Brent's mother, Debbie
and the rest of her family were devastated by the murder. The emotional trauma
almost tore the family apart. But Debbie decided that she had to do something
positive. She applied the lessons she learned from overcoming childhood abuse -
self-affirmation and forgiveness. She set out to teach children and their
parents about the ripple effect of violence and the power of forgiveness.
She created a nonprofit organization called LIFE SENTENCEŠ to
denote the life sentence she and her family must endure without Brent. The
organization sponsors her work in presenting a teaching program called CHOICES.
She now presents her program around the country in schools, churches, detention
centers and prisons. Her presentations have been experienced
by over 40,000 students, youth offenders and parents. For her amazing journey
of outstanding and dedicated work promoting the power of forgiveness, she will
be awarded the Hero of Forgiveness award at the International Forgiveness Day
Awards Ceremony on Sunday August 7, 2011.