AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) It’s been 3-years now since a gunman opened fire at Augusta’s Riverwalk during the city’s 4th of July celebration. Three people were hurt.
Tonight, one of those victims is talking to us about what happened that night and how it changed her life.
“There’s not a cure for it but, you definitely find ways to live with it and overcome it,” says Hillary Odom who survived what happen to her that nigh.
July 4th 2016, Hilary Odom and her family decided to walk the Riverwalk downtown for her birthday. Little did she know that day would be the day her life changed forever.
“Its a night that I still see very regularly in my nightmares,”says Odom.
Her photography company would have celebrated 10 years that August, a month after the shooting, but that night stripped from her the ability to be behind the lens. She was shot in the face — causing nerve damage to her right eye.
She says the following year it pushed her to do something for herself that resulted in a form of therapy for her.
“Before i was actually able to go back to the place I went to the other side of the river, fly my drone to the site and photographed the entire Riverwalk and it was like I went down there without actually going down there, it was pretty amazing,” says Odom.
Photography wasn’t the only thing helping her heal. She says after visiting a friend’s farm, she realized the sense of peace being with a goat provided her and she decided she would get some goats of her own.
“It just became that part of my therapy that i needed to be outside with my thoughts where it was quite,” says Odom.
Odom says she’s undergone a rebirth over the past few years, and found her true purpose which is helping others.
She’s using her own battle with suicidal thoughts to help others deal with them.
She says she wants to be a breath of fresh air for those people, the same way forces united was for her.
“Just keep pushing through, everything is going to be okay, your going to learn the strategies and the steps it’s going to take to get through it,” says Odom.
That shooting led to the addition of a sheriff’s office substation here at the Unisys building, but the building holds a deeper meaning for Hillary.
a year after the shooting, she learned the Regional Operations Director for Unisys saved her children by putting them in his car during the shooting.
The two have since become friends.
One of the suspects in that shooting pleaded guilty in 2017.
Clinton Coleman was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and 10 years probation. Investigators say Coleman and another man were arguing and started shooting at each other. That other man has never been found.