Runner brings awareness to violence in relationships

Pennsylvania-native to run from Lexington to Frankfort Thursday

By Kristina Belcher, Published:

Growing up the son of a single mother in the projects of Monaca — a borough near Pittsburgh, Pa. — Josh Nadzam said he was no stranger to dating violence.

“There was a lot of that going on in my neighborhood,” Nadzam said.

Today, the 25-year-old has set out to make sure that dating violence, a rarely-discussed issue, can no longer be ignored.

The former University of Kentucky track athlete is running from Lexington to Frankfort, hoping to raise awareness and support for proposed legislation to protect victims of intimate partner abuse in dating relationships.

The 25-mile run is the longest Nadzam has ever attempted.

“The most I’ve ever run is 14 miles, so this is going to be tough,” Nadzam said.

But he said the cause is worth the sacrifice.

“Whatever kind of pain I’m feeling … it’s nothing compared to people who experience domestic violence,” Nadzam said.

Nadzam explained that Kentucky is the only state without some kind of civil protection for dating violence victims who have not lived in the same home or had a child with their abuser. 

Legislators have been unsuccessful so far in their attempts to change Kentucky’s current law, which would allow these types of victims to get emergency restraining orders.

“I don’t think some people even know about it,” Nadzam said.

The issue became even more special to Nadzam when he began working as the development specialist at GreenHouse17, a Lexington shelter formerly known as Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.

Working with victims brought the statistics to life, Nadzam said, and made him even more passionate about the cause.

“It stops becoming just numbers, it becomes people,” Nadzam said. “It becomes families.”

He said he would be thinking of those victims as he’s running — he won’t quit because they can’t quit. 

“If you’re in a domestic violence situation, you don’t have that choice,” Nadzam said.

Nadzam planned to run from 11 a.m. until about 2:15 p.m. today.

He planned to head toward Frankfort from downtown Lexington using Leestown Road, continuing onto the East-West Connector. He then planned to take Martin Luther King Boulevard to East Main Street and then turn and head toward Capital Avenue.

He planned to end his run with a celebration at the Capitol Rotunda from 2:15 until 2:45 p.m.

Nadzam said he hopes to catch the attention of the public and legislators alike, who can then advocate for a change in state law.

His monetary goal is to raise $5,000 for GreenHouse17 by the time he crosses the finish line. As of Wednesday evening, donations totaled almost $4,000.

Additional information about Nadzam’s campaign is available at

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  • Bodeen, it does happen sometimes.  But there are a lot of sick controlling bastids out there who think that "their" women have to follow their orders or be physically assaulted...and don't even think about leaving them or they will kill them.  Shucks, man, the reported sexual assaults in the US military increased by over 50 percent in 2013, punctuating a year filled with damning disclosures of a culture that has failed to protect the enlisted from systemic levels of sexual violence. Data obtained by AP shows there were more than 5,000 sexual assault reports during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30.  

    Sure, some of it can be attributed to red necks behaving badly, but Steve Nunn wasn't a red neck...I knew him!  But he was a good ol' southern boy with very traditional values, which sometimes have pretty twisted views of how to treat their women.  And like father, like son.

  • I was once married to an abuser but finally wised up and got out of it and found a decent man who loves and respects me. I want to thank both Bodeen and Legion for their comments. I can understand both your views and thank you Legion for supporting the women's shelter. The Nunn situation was really tragic and sad. And you are right Bodeen it does work both ways, it's just that you hear more about the women being abused than you do the men.

  • Oh no no no no. I didn't say Ross deserved this. No woman ever does, even the ones that plays the system that is so one sided that it is abused by some that doesn't need it just to get revenge. Ms. Ross wasn't no angel either legion but you made it sound like she was. She was out to destroy  Mr. Nunn and did but it cost her her life. She knew that Nunn would have to resign his job and have his public image destroyed over that EPO and as she left the court room she said, I GOT HIM! I got him. Yeah she did. The point is legion, they both were drunkards and abusers and drug users and Nunn was bloodied up a time or two also over her. I am not bias, I just see the man getting the short end of justice sometimes by women who knows all to well how to play it. I cannot stand a jealous or obsessive man verbally or physically abusing women and I guess that why I absolutly cannot stand a woman who abuses the system for revenge. It take away the seriousness of the woman who does need it.  Dont say it doesn't happen.

  • They are the same thing. "A restraining order or protective order is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another."


    Bodeen, there are no excuses or extenuating circumstances for shooting your estranged girlfiiend..or physicaly assaulting your wife.  Neither Nunn was railroaded by the system.  Ross obviously wasn't playing the system, she was failed by it.  You sound pretty biased about this...there are lots and lots of very bad men out there.  We live in a red neck state where this kind of behavor is rampant. Maybe you should visit our local women's shelter and talk to some of the battered women there...I have and donate to keep it going.

  • Legion that version sounds good but don't kid yourself, Not good to play the system for revenge only. You also left out the cocaine and alcohol abuse that the victim was stated to have done. I will give you that it's always the guys fault (no matter what the real circumstances were). The Laws and Courts are one sided when it comes to domestic abuse and men are railroaded by the system and women knows this! More women abuses the EPO than who actually needs it and that is a big reason why it doesn't mean much. Not saying they're not any bad men out there but lots of rotten from both. Just not in the courts eyes.

  • Never heard of an ERO. don't you mean EPO Emergecny Protection Order?

      In February 2009 Ross filed for an emergency protection order against Nunn. Nunn continued stalking her for months, culminating in the incident in September, when Nunn shot Amanda as she left for work.

     But I agree that is just a piece of paper that can't even stop water from making it wet.

  • bla bla bla from a oxygenthief

  • "Legislators have been unsuccessful so far in their attempts to change Kentucky’s current law, which would allow these types of victims to get emergency restraining orders."

    What?  If you are being threatened or have been assualted you cannot get an emergency restraining order (ERO)?  I don't think that is true.

    But let's get real here, an ERO is only worth the paper it is written on if the police and Sheriff are NOT around to enforce them.  If instead the police/Sheriff are lurking in the shadows with foot patrols searching for druggies in the projects or Section 8 housing, or way out in the boonies, they aren't going to be around to help those with EROs when they need them.  But our police have their priorities!  How many women with EROs are killed or physically/sexually assulted each year?  Waayyy too many!

    "Take Steve Nunn, a state legislator from Kentucky who was a lousy husband, a raging hypocrite,and dangerous. His story should remind us that the people we vote into office, regardless of how good they look on the surface, can be rotten to the core. Steven Nunn was 15 when his father, Louie B. Nunn, became Kentucky's 52nd governor in 1967. A Republican, Nunn was re-elected to a second term, but in 1973, lost his bid for a seat in the U. S. Senate. Six years later, he ran for governor again, but lost. His career in elected politics was over.

    In 1974, Steve, hoping to follow in his father's footsteps, enrolled in law school, but dropped out. He got married, and over the next five years, had three children. In 1990, at age 38, Nunn ran for the Kentucky state house of representatives, and won.

    Steve's father, a hard-driven narcissist and BS artist who enjoyed subjecting his kid to ridicule, refused to be impressed with his son's election to state office. Like his father, Steve was a lousy husband who regularly cheated on his wife. In 1994 she divorced him. Two years later, Steve's mother Beula, after 42 years of marriage to Louie B., sought an ERO against the abusive ex-governor. Steve confronted his father over this, and the two men came to blows. After that, they stopped speaking to each other. Beula divorced Louie B. shortly thereafter.

    Steve Nunn, in his third term as a state legislator, married Tracey Damron, a former flight attendant and daughter of a wealthy Kentucky coal magnate. A social butterfly who sparkled at fundraisers and social balls, Tracey became the perfect politician's wife. Two years later, in 1998, Steve co-sponsored a bill that imposed the death sentence on a convicted killer who murders a woman who has taken out a restraining order against him. The bill became Kentucky law.

    In 2002, after Tracey Nunn engineered a father-son reconciliation, she and Steve moved into the ex-governor's Pin Oak Farms mansion near Versailles, Kentucky. But a year later, the 51-year-old's political career took a bad turn. In a bid for the governorship, Steve lost badly in the Republican primary. And on January 29, 2004, his father, at age 81, died of an heart attack. Although Steve didn't have a healthy relationship with his father, the old man's death devastated him. The wheels of Steve's political career came off in 2006 when he lost his legislative seat to an unknown challenger.

    Following the death of his father, Steve starting drinking heavily, patronizing prostitutes, and behaving irrationally. He also became, like his father, an abusive husband. Tracey divorced him in 2006. The following year, the 55-year-old political has-been met 20-year-old Amanda Ross, the daughter of a recently deceased public financier. After two months of dating, Steve moved into her Lexington, Kentucky apartment. In 2008, they were engaged to be married.

    Through his engagement to Amanda Ross, Steve landed the cabinet-level job of heading up a state agency that oversaw a variety of welfare programs, include those dealing with spousal abuse. (Ex drug users get jobs as drug counselors, why not hire ex-wife abusers to oversee spousal abuse?) Amanda Ross held a high-level state position as well.

    Although Steve was back on his feet career-wise, he was still emotionally unstable, and drinking too much. His paranoia led him to suspect that Amanda was cheating on him. On February 17, 2009, in the midst of an argument in Ross' apartment, Steve, true to form, hit her. The next day, she petitioned the court for an ERO, which a judge quickly granted. Under the restraining order, Nunn could have no contact with Ross for a period of a year. Within 48 hours of the judge's ruling, Nunn had no choice but to resign his cushy, high-paid government job.

    Convinced that Ross had intentionally sabotaged his career, Nunn became obsessed with revenge. To embarrass and humiliate his former fiancee, he showed his friends nude photographs he had taken of her. He then began to stalk her.

    On September 11, 2009, as Amanda Ross left her apartment on her way to work, Nunn shot her to death. While no one witnessed the murder, homicide investigators had an obvious suspect--Steve Nunn. Later that day, police found him hiding in a cemetery. He had scratched his wrists in a phony suicide attempt. (Nothing this guy did was on the level.)

    Charged with first degree murder, Nunn, to avoid the death penalty mandated by his own legislation, pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole."  (Thanks to Jim Fisher True Crime)