Hope springs from tragedy

Oct 17, 2013

Children and teens living at the new shelter operated by Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County will enjoy the use of a youth center designed to bring joy to young people who have known too much pain.

It is tentatively named Susan’s Youth Center in honor of Susan Brockert, a woman who was bludgeoned to death by her boyfriend in May of 2011.

A 15-year employee at BDA, a brand merchandise company headquartered in Woodinville, Brockert was rewarded for her longevity along with 75 co-workers on a company retreat to Hawaii.

After an evening of dining and dancing, people retired to their hotel rooms. That night, Brockert’s boyfriend, Philip Zimmerman of Bellevue, barricaded their door and beat her to death.

On a recent tour of the new DVS shelter, Rob Alley, Director of Marketing at BDA, recounted how co-workers and her friend and boss, Jay Deutsch – who co-founded the company – heard Brockert’s screams and rushed to help.

They were unable to break down the door until it was too late.  Zimmerman is now serving time in a prison in Hawaii.

Brockert, the divorced mother of two, had never divulged the extent of her troubled relationship with Zimmerman.

“I don’t think any of our employees had a clue it was domestic violence-related,” Alley said.

Deutsch, BDA’s CEO, decided he and his company would do everything they could to bring an end to domestic violence.

After initially turning them down, Deutsch agreed to appear on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” in honor of Susan Brockert.

The company formed a nonprofit arm, BDA Cares, donating to agencies active in the fight, including a $75,000 donation this year to DVS.

DVS decided to use the money for the shelter’s new youth center.

“Domestic Violence’s effects on children are so huge,” said DVS’s Karen McKeen. “We see them come in shell-shocked.

“So being able to come out here to play will be so good for them.”

The center will be split into two sides, one for teens, the other for younger children.

It will include games like foosball and ping-pong, art supplies and other activities. During the summer, garage-sized doors can be opened up to an outdoor play area.

–Paul Archipley

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