Paying it Forward


Maria Rienzo

Has served on the AFSP Board of Directors and remains active in community events. 

Donna Hillman

Has started a group...

Linda Borders Killian

Is CEO of Jacquelyn Bogue Foundation and supplies us with the Mourning After pamphlets...





Paying it Forward 2



My husband James ended his life in January, 1999 and left me behind with three small children.  We all worked very hard to achieve a healthy recovery.

For years in the early 2000's, I was a grief support volunteer for a tri-county initiative about suicide prevention and grief services. Through this program, I was able to collect and retain wonderful stories of love and coping.  The initiative fell apart when the volunteer coordinator resigned.

I was also, up until this year, a trained Griefbuster -- which is a school staff volunteer who works with students suffering a loss or potential loss (cancer, for example).  My principal knows if a kid needs me, I will get coverage for my class and meet on the spot.

That is how grief support best works, it is not a future appointment. The grief work helped me become educated about suicide and face my own shortcomings.  It has been an important part of completing the circle.

Kara's Story

Marilyn Ellison-Echols


My daughter Alanya

was a bright, beautiful young woman with a wonderful future ahead of her. 

She was an educated young woman,

a radio personality, an actress and a poet looking forward to publishing her first book, ‘Lullabies for the Soul’.

But in 2017, she unexpectedly took her life. She had it well planned and her family had no clues to her intentions. Countless people were, are and will always be affected

by her untimely death.

In her honor, memory and legacy I made sure ‘Lullabies for the Soul’ got published.

I also am in the process of starting a new nonprofit organization called,

‘Lullabies for the Soul’.

This organization was founded in memory of my daughter, Alanya Echols. The goal of the nonprofit organization is to provide, awareness, education and services.

Keith Haughton


  I lost my mom to suicide when I was 14 years old. I later learned that she suffered from severe depression for most of her life and had threatened and attempted suicide several times prior. I didn’t know any of this when I found her in her bedroom on February 26, 1985.

I lost my dad in June 2009 to suicide. He was suffering from end-stage cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse. 

One year later, I lost my only sibling,

my younger brother Steve, to suicide in June 2010. 

Last year, I decided to write a book about my life, detailing the loss of my family, my own battles with depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and my long journey of hope and healing. My memoir, Rambles and Rants, was published in November of 2018. I pray that it brings encouragement, comfort, and the reassuring knowledge that none of us are alone in our pain. Hold fast to hope. Your story is not over yet…

Rambles and Rants

Joe Rosenblatt


The loss of his son Chris altered forever the trajectory of Joe’s life, and brought him into so many of ours … and the ripple effect continues as the examples he set for caring and comfort carry forward.

Joe truly turned his scars into stars.  In his quiet, kind way, he helped literally thousands of suicide survivors navigate through their tremendous sorrows, and put his exquisite listening skills to use as a New Hope counselor and trainer.

He was a tireless volunteer for other causes related to suicide prevention and postvention. He was a volunteer for the Yellow Ribbon program, working with 

local schools to promote suicide education and prevention.

Several times he accepted speaking engagements to talk about suicide, and once appeared at Camp Pendleton  – Being an Army vet who served in Vietnam, he was amused to find himself addressing hundreds of Marines and commanding their full attention. 

As my co-facilitator at SOS for 17 of my 28 years, he was such a comforting presence, and known by countless people for his quiet wisdom and constant encouragement … both at group or by phone.

Joe is the original poster child for surviving with courage and grace.  Gary and I – and so many others-  love and miss you, Joe -  Jeri




Rufus Tamayo


 On October 12, 2001, at 2:37 in the morning

my wife took her life. 

The years that followed would bring me and my family to the brink of knowing God’s love. Along the way, there was so much confusion and absolute despair, not only for me but also this horror would haunt my family for years. 

We have recovered but redemption comes 

one to know Faith and Hope. I can never say how I came to Survivors of Suicide (SOS) but I can only thank God for the kindness and caring given to me by Jeri and all those who suffered much worse than I. The road to God is easy to find but hard to travel.

But, for me the road started at SOS. On this road I used my experiences, I received from SOS, to help others as a Crisis Counselor at the Crystal Cathedral, a Peer Counselor at Mariners Church and for the past ten years a Child Advocate for the State of Arizona Supreme Court.

To restore peace to a troubled mind is the great aim I have in view. One day I will see God and my Faith will be lost in sight, my Hope will come to fruition but the Charity, we give as Christians, will last beyond the boundless realms of eternity.

We all were redeemed by God’s Grace. Let us return this gift of salvation by attending to the distressed, their miseries and misfortunes. As I am a living example how God will lead you to love again.