MOUNT VERNON — From the days of living with grandparents after losing his parents and a sibling to now working on a Juris doctorate degree, the years have been good to Aaron Allard.
“There’s only so much you can do,” said Allard, in looking back at the whole process he’s digested. Allard will address the public as the keynote speaker at the New Directions first annual fund-raising dinner Thursday evening. With the dinner’s theme being “Insuring an open door to safety and healthy relationships,” Allard will account his experience with domestic violence and the healing made possible through organizations such as New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter of Knox County.
“This is an absolute phenomenal resource,” said Allard in referring to the services provided at New Directions. “I’ve healed from the trauma. But it had to be the right kind of support.”
Just two days from his fifth birthday in March 1992, Allard’s world was turned upside down when his mother and younger sister were killed by his father, Jerry Allard. His father, distraught over an unwanted dissolution of marriage, had been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and hyperthyroidism then “went into a frenzy” after reportedly ceasing to take his prescription of Lithium. He later died of natural causes while on death row.
Aaron Allard was raised by his grandparents in Morrow County.
“A breach of trust is inevitable,” said Allard, who saw the effects on children who are bounced around from home to home. As a child, Jerry Allard was sent to a series of foster homes, and was reportedly mistreated and physically abused.
“When I was a small child, I really didn’t get it. As I got older, I learned more of what was going on,” said Allard. “But I was OK. I was so young.” Many sessions of therapy followed, and Allard was the beneficiary of much support from Moundbuilders Guidance Center.
He enrolled in college at Bowling Green State University to pursue a political science degree. Then it was off to China to learn another language. “I went over there and loved it. It was a great experience,” said Allard. He later took the Law School Administrative Test and enrolled in law school at Cornell University.