Volunteers are holding their 4th annual Dudefest event this Saturday to raise awareness of suicide prevention and the many programs available in the area.
Event coordinator Tara Stauffenberg, Tamaqua, has organized the event for the past fours years in honor of her brother Cory McCarroll, 32, who took his own life in June of 2009.
"It still hurts. It's going to hurt for a long time," Stauffenberg said. "Cory was the life of the party, always friendly and outgoing. He made a few bad choices and he lost his job because of them and, to him, he lost everything. He felt that he'd let everybody down, and he couldn't live with that."
Like in the past, entertainment will be provided free of charge by local DJs, bands and performers. Food, games, prizes and refreshments will also be available.
This year's Dudefest, a family event, will be held to raise needed funds for the Schuylkill County Task Force for suicide prevention programs, as well as to promote suicide prevention and awareness. The Schuylkill County Suicide Prevention Task Force has been in existence since 2004 and was created as a subcommittee of the Schuylkill County Vision Mental Health Committee, created in 1999, to provide public information, reduce the stigma of accessing services, and train providers in the recognition of suicidal behavior and provision of timely services. This task force has also addressed the high suicide rate in the county through public education forums, conferences, creating a speakers' bureau and distributing literature.
In addition, the Task Force, in conjunction with the Mental Health Subcommittee, has sponsored training over the past few years related to recognizing the signs of suicide in schools and bullying prevention. Schuylkill county suicide cases in recent years are noted as the highest in over 30 years. Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889.
The event, is being held rain or shine at the West Penn Rod & Gun Club, 1047 Clamtown Road in Clamtown/West Penn, will last from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about the event or to volunteer or donate, contact Stauffenberg or any other family member on Facebook.
"This event is not only a day to remember Cory, but a day to to come together in support of each other," added Stauffenberger.