Baking for a Cause!

On Monday February 12, 2018, the Four County LOSS team held their monthly meeting.  Unlike typical gatherings, February’s meeting had a sweet surprise! The twenty LOSS team members in attendance spent part of their time packaging more than sixty-dozen home baked cookies. The cookies will be distributed to all county and municipal law enforcements departments in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties. According to LOSS Team Coordinator, Tonie Long “The cookies are our way of thanking law enforcement for activating the Four County LOSS Team as part of the first response to suicide deaths in our communities. Without their support, we would not be able to reach those newly bereaved by suicide. Law enforcement’s  willingness to partner with the LOSS Team, allows our members to  provide the necessary care and support to families during a time of personal tragedy.”  All sixty dozen cookies, along with informational materials the LOSS Team and suicide prevention, are set to be delivered between February 13th through February 16th 2018.



LOSS Team volunteer, Billie Jo Horner

International Survivors of Suicide Event a Success

International Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. In 2016, there were over 350 Survivor Day events in 18 countries.  We were very happy to offer the first annual local International Survivor Day event here in the four county area.

On Saturday November 18, 2017 thirty-five area survivors of suicide loss gathered at St. John’s Lutheran Church, just south of Archbold, Ohio. The event included a screening of The Journey: A Story of Healing and Hope, as well as The Journey Revisited, in which six of the original Journey participants gather three years later to reflect on how their grief and healing journey is evolving. In addition to viewing the films, local survivors Teresa May and Sandra Manon shared their stories of loss and healing.  Participants also had the chance to connect with other survivors during guided discussion groups, as well as an opportunity to honor those lost to suicide.  Lunch was provided free of charge, with sponsorship of this first annual event provided by the Four County ADAMhs Board and the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

One Step at a Time 5K a Success

On Saturday September 23, 2017, more that 400 are community members participated in the annual One Step at a Time 5K Run-Walk. The event, which began in memory of Scott Hammersmith, who was lost to suicide in 2006, was held again at the Defiance College athletic center. The weather was a perfect fall day, which encouraged  strong attendance for the race.  Activities included a hula hoop contest for the kids, music, as well as area  providers who shared information on local mental health resources and suicide prevention services. The athletic could choose to either run or walk the 5K course, along with a Memory Mile  which provided survivors the opportunity to honor the lives of their loved ones lost to suicide. Money raised through the annual 5K is used to support suicide prevention and awareness throughout Defiance County, Ohio.

(Maumee Valley Guidance Center staff  pictured left):
Laura Vanderhosrt, Bethany Shirkey, Mattea Gilbert, Taylor Hueston,
Erin Elting, Anne Mallet, Rachelle McDonald, Connie Planson, Erin Planson
(Quinn, Planson, Baby), Collen Planson, and Jeannie Wagner


New LOSS Volunteers Trained

Five new LOSS Team volunteers were trained on Friday, August 25, 2017, and will be part of the Four County suicide response efforts.  The new volunteers include Joyce Klear of Bryan, Richard Sheets of Defiance, Kathro Yoder of Defiance, Jan Lindsay of Archbold, and Karen VonDeylen of Malinta (pictured below).  Tonie Long of the Four County ADAMhs Board, trained the volunteers on the impact of suicide on families and communities, the history of the LOSS Team, and the Four County LOSS Team response protocol.  The day-long training included information on crime scene etiquette, which was provided by Sergeant Bryan Coger of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

Pictured above: Joyce Klear, Sgt. Bryan Coger, Richard Sheets, Kathro Yoder, Jan Lindsay, Karen VonDeylen





LOSS Team Appreciation Event:

In place of the July 2017 LOSS Team meeting, LOSS Volunteers gathered for an opportunity to be recognized for their service to Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties.  LOSS volunteers are unique in their commitment to being an “Installation of Hope” in order to help those newly bereaved by suicide begin the journey toward recovery.  Les. McCaslin, ADAMhs Board CEO, said “The work being done by the Four County LOSS Team is having a very positive impact on families in our communities.”  Those in attendance enjoyed delicious food, warm fellowship, and wonderful music provided by The Bridge County Bluegrass Band.  Regular monthly team meetings will resume in August, 2017.

2017 National LOSS Conference

Four County LOSS Coordinator Tonie Long attended the 2017 National LOSS Conference on April 24th and 25th, 2017.  Tonie was joined by her husband, LOSS volunteer and survivor, Brad Long.  The theme for this year’s conference was “Strength in Numbers: Engaging the Community in Suicide Postvention”,  and was held in beautiful Phoenix Arizona. The conference was hosted by the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with EMPACT- Suicide Prevention Center, a community based, non-profit behavioral health organization in Arizona.   The event was a unique opportunity to learn more about suicide postvention, and the Active Postvention Model known as LOSS.  LOSS team members, coordinators and survivors from all over the country were in attendance, with representation from several international teams as well.  Keynote speakers  Dr. Frank Campbell, Dr. William Feigelman, and Stewart Smith MA, LPC, presented information on suicide related trauma, grief, and recovery.  Information on growing and sustaining local LOSS teams was also presented.  Tonie Long described the conference as “A great opportunity to come together with people from all over the country to inspire new ideas, and to create new partnerships in the fight against suicide.” 

The National LOSS Conference will return to Phoenix in October, 2018.








LOSS Volunteer and Survivor, Brad Long pictured with LOSS Team members from Great Britain