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by Janet Nesler

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Entering Dawn's Angels specialty shop is an out of this world experience. Celestial feelings surround you and if you listen closely you can almost hear the flutter of angel wings.

The shop features unique gifts all with an angel theme. Owned and operated by Donna Shumway, Dawn's Angels was named in memory of Shumway's daughter, Dawn Shumway, who died in a fire in Columbus three years ago.

"Dawn was 25 years old and was an exceptional person," said Shumway, "The type of person that everyone else turned to. She always had her feet on the ground and looked at the optimistic
view of life. She was a bright light to everyone's life she touched. After she was gone I received a lot of letters and phone calls from people saying how she had caused them to take a
good look at their lives."

Before her death Dawn lived and worked in Columbus and attended Ohio State University. She had just met the man she had hoped to have a future with. Both of them and a girlfriend were lost in the fire.

"Dawn was home the weekend before the fire and was on top of the world, in love and happy with her new job and looking forward to a great future," said Shumway. "The fire was investigated but it was never proven what caused it. Dawn's death was absolutely devastating to me and I felt like I needed to know answers. My search took me through all kinds of things...books about people with near©death experiences and on into spiritual readings. I
attended many workshops and lectures on grief. I don't believe that death is the end. I believe that Dawn is very much alive in another form at this point and that is my peace."

"I definitely believe in angels. I've had a lot of angel experiences myself and so have members of the family. Sometimes I can almost feel the touch and energy when I am at a time of decision. If I acknowledge it, it just goes away and lets me take care of the problem. But if I ignore it, it will stay until I recognize it's presence. I believe they are there at all times to guide us and help us through life. The only reason we are not aware of it is because we block it. Once we become more aware and willing to be open to it, whatever we focus on, we get positive side is God and the angels, we are the ones who have to open ourselves up to it."

All of the study and workshops gave Shumway the idea to open the Angel shop. Then people started giving her gifts of angels for every occasion.

"I decided if I could find the right place to do it I would feel it was the right thing for me to do," said Shumway, "I would also offer books on coping with grief in the shop. Then I walked into
this house and I knew everything was right. It was perfect. It even had a place to live upstairs."

Shumway has put all her experience in sales, floral arrangement, and the reading and workshops into her business. In the future she hopes to do study groups and workshops for the grieving. Shumway's children Dana Lambrick and Dustin Shumway have formed a sister/brother team and will offer an original line of greeting cards. Dana is a writer, with three books to her credit that will be published soon. All three are non fiction books on questions and answers about facing death. Dustin is an artist and already has painted commissioned art work with themes including angels. One room of the shop is a gallery for his paintings.

Dawn's Angels offers jewelry, sweat shirts, figurines, angel bears, older couples that are angels, artificial flowers, angel containers for floral arrangements. Dawn's angels also decorates for weddings and other special occasions.

" The shop has been a source of healing," said Shumway. "I have been able to come back and say I made it and I have peace in my life because of what I have learned. A lot of people come in and they see that I'm making it and they tell me their angel story. I've had a lot of angel experiences myself and so have members of the family. We have so many things that let us know that Dawn is so much around us. It has taken away the fear of death, knowing
that we do go on...the more we trust God for guidance and trust the angels to be there to help us, the easier life gets."

"When I first started the business, I just started buying things and I felt if I ran into a lot of obstacles then I would know it wasn't meant for me to do this. Every door opened and I just
stepped through. I feel like it was what I was supposed to do. It was proven with our very first customer and that was when we were getting ready to open. Two girls knocked on the door and one of them was looking for someone to do a cake top of flowers for her wedding. She couldn't find anyone who could do what she wanted done. She had strong feeling to come to Sciotoville and ask around and she had been directed to our shop even though we hadn't opened yet. I asked when her wedding day was and she said June 15. I told her I would do her wedding cake and not even charge her for it because June 15 was Dawn's birthday. I really
felt it was a sign."

"I am thankful I was able to use the experience of Dawn's death to help other people to learn to understand life and death. The growth has to start within before we can reach out to help
others. If I'm able to help anyone on their path, then that is the most I can possibly do. It makes Dawn go on and on living."

Dawn's Angels has been open since July 1, 1997 and is located at 5829 Gallia Street In Sciotoville, OH


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