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January Jefferson Award winner Kimberly Richardson

COLUMBIA (WACH)-Kimberly Richardson founded Widows of Opportunity after the tragic loss of her husband.

"My husband passed away and I didn't have consistent support," so Kimberly Richardson decided to create her own in her non-profit organization, Widows of Opportunity.

"There wasn't anything for widows when I lost my husband, there were organizations for grief as a whole but I wanted to be with my widows, I wanted to be with other widows who understood and I didn't want to be judged," said Richardson.

Widows of Opportunity was created in 2011 in South Carolina with 4 widows, today it reaches 34 states and 8 countries.

"We've helped over 10,000 widows get back on their feet, find jobs, graduate college," said RIchardson, "some have gotten remarried, not saying remarriage is something they should do but that's what they chose to do."

In January, former governor South Carolina Nikki Haley recognized Richardson and Widows of Opportunity with a certificate of appreciation for their efforts.

"She also made a proclamation for us last year to recognize Bereaved Spouses Month, so that's awesome that she's acknowledging the widowers in our community."

Richardson says widows often go forgotten and that the grief lasts long after the loss, which is why her organization is so important.

"You know people feel like, they're grown, they can get a job, get up, they'll be alright, move on, remarry, it doesn't work that way, when you marry, you become one, when you lose your husband you lose half of you if not all of you, if its not there you gotta go make it."

Congratulations to Kimberly Richardson for her work with widows in the community. If you would like to nominate someone you believe is worthy of The Jefferson Awards nomination click here.

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