The third annual Suicide Awareness Bike Ride held in July and organized by Julie Deeds, her family and friends in memory of her husband, Dennis who completed suicide in October 2012, raised just over $4,000. The amount was shared by NAMI Four County, the KAVIC (Keller Assists Veterans in Crisis) program, and the Maumee Valley Guidance Center veterans’ outreach program.
The first benefit in 2017 netted $325 and involved about 12 riders.
Partnering now with a number of vendors and area churches, this year’s ride included nearly 35 motorcycles on a 70 mile ride that began and ended at the Wauseon VFW Hall. NAMI Four County, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has been a beneficiary of the ride every year. Last year, the net proceeds were split with two area groups that benefit veterans in need – Keller Assists Veterans in Crisis (KAVIC) and Maumee Valley Guidance Center veterans’ outreach program.
NAMI Four County will use its share of the proceeds, plus a donation from the Wauseon VFW to support two Mental Health First Aid trainings that the group offers at no cost to persons whose work or volunteer activities may bring them in contact with persons experiencing a mental health crisis. Family members and friends are also welcome to participate in the free day-long class.
The first training will be held Oct. 31 at St. John Christian Church in Archbold. It will focus on helping adults with serious mental health problems who are in crisis. Next spring, a similar class will be held that focuses on youth experiencing a mental health crisis.
For more information on the Oct. 31 adult Mental Health First Aid class as well as registration information, please visit the NAMI Four County website at www.namifourcounty.org.
Keller Logistics of Defiance raises money to support the KAVIC program, which assists Defiance County veterans. The Defiance County Veterans Affairs Office refers veterans with needs that are not covered by the Veterans Administration to the program.
Maumee Valley Guidance Center veterans’ outreach program serves veterans in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties and also provides referrals and assistance for services that are not covered by the Veterans Administration, including time-limited financial assistance to third parties for veterans needing help with rent, utilities, moving expenses, security and utility deposits, transportation and emergency supplies.
The benefit funding that Maumee Valley has received will be used to help veterans in Fulton, Henry and Williams counties that are not helped by the KAVIC program.
Although Dennis Deeds was not a veteran, his wife Julie explained that he was very patriotic and had so much respect for the military. She added that she and her son, Justin, wanted to do whatever they could with some of the proceeds to help veterans, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and any other mental health issue.