Domestic violence victim Pays it Forward to help other victims

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Heather Tinnon isn't afraid to talk about what she's been through. She's a victim of domestic violence and a former drug user.

"When you're going through these situations, sometimes you feel like you're alone and you don't want anyone to know," said Tinnon.

But instead of letting the hardships consume her, the Valley grandmother is using her past experiences to help others as a family support counselor that helps young mothers cope with domestic violence and substance abuse.

"People just need a little help along the way, so if I'm able to do that then I just feel so blessed to be invited into their life," said Tinnon.

Leah Whitespeare is one of the mom's Tinnon has been working with.

Whitespeare is also a victim of domestic violence and said that Tinnon's advice, and support has made all the difference, so she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the woman changing her her life.

"I would like to let her know that she is appreciated more than a counselor," said Whitespeare. "She is a friend and family, too."

Whitespeare surprised Tinnon last week.

"You've impacted my life in a huge way by being more than a mentor to me," Whitespeare said. "Being a friend when I needed it with my kids with my domestic violence issues. On behalf and my family and those that you've helped, and Channel 5 news, I would like to present you with $500 from Pay it Forward."

"I feel that I'm the blessed one, because they give me hope and they inspire me to want to be a better person, a better mom, better grandma, just a better everything," said Tinnon.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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