Clamtown Dudefest promotes suicide prevention
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Family members and friends pictured behind a large collage of support photos from left are (in relationship to Cory) uncle Tommy McCarroll, aunt Michele McCarroll, aunt Stefanie McCarroll, brother-in-law Kenny Stauffenberg, sister and Dudefest organizer Tara Stauffenberg, friend Sherry Shellhammer, and uncle Frank McCarroll.
Tara Stauffenberg of Tamaqua organized a suicide prevention and awareness fundraiser called Dudefest in honor of her brother Cory McCarroll, 32, who took his own life in June of 2009.
A few months later, Tara held a fundraiser to help their family with costs. The event, held recently at the West Penn Rod and Gun Club, consisted of music, food, dancing and prizes.
"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.", she added.
Entertainment was provided free of charge by Rod, Brit, Shay, & Sky, Vangoohs Window, Jay DeMarco & Zac Evans, Sean & Mikey from Red Orange Aura, Running with Scissors, A Story of Another, Cameltoe, and R.C. from T102.
This year's Dudefest was held to raise funds for the Schuylkill County Task Force for suicide prevention as well as to promote suicide prevention and awareness. The Schuylkill County Suicide Prevention Task Force has been in existence since 2004. The Task Force 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 addressed the high suicide rate in the county through public education forums, conferences, creating a speakers' bureau, and distributing literature.
The Task Force, in conjunction with the Mental Health Subcommittee, has also sponsored training over the past two 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. "Anybody that knew Cory, knows why it's called Dudefest," Tara added. "I just want to say this is it. Enough. We have to do something to at least try to stop it!"?