HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Since Holyoke restaurant owner Carol Beal lost her brother to suicide several years ago, she has devoted herself to helping other families whose lives have been devastated by a loved one taking their own life.
Since Rusty Bartlett, a Holyoke firefighter took his life several years ago, Carol now runs Rusty’s Place, a popular Holyoke breakfast and lunch restaurant.
Carol declined to be in the limelight during Saturday’s fundraiser at the restaurant that bear’s Rusty’s name. The fundraiser proceeds next week’s annual Out of Darkness Walk, a suicide prevention walk that traditionally attracts hundreds of survivors.
Heather White, the Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told 22News that the foundation’s goal is to save lives and raise suicide prevention awareness.
“Right now, more than ever, the message is around suicide prevention and also raising the critical funds that we need to keep our mission of saving lives,” said White.
A friend of Rusty’s, Floyd Fairbanks, told 22News that Rusty’s passing was a blow to the community.
“Our group is based on helping the military and the community they live in,” Fairbanks said. “Rusty was a firefighter around here and a member of the community. We enjoyed riding together, his loss was a blow to everyone here.”
So many friends and supporters donating to the cause of helping western Massachusetts families protect the lives of their loved ones at risk. Raising awareness by calling attention to the issues that put so many lives in danger each year.
Donations from events such as the Out of Darkness Walk helps the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention do its critical work.