August 2023 Newsletter

Newsletter - November 2023

The month of September is dedicated nationally to Suicide Prevention. For the Longley Foundation and for our family, we continued in our small way with our mission to bring awareness to the pandemic of brain illnesses and the tragedy of suicide. Looking Ahead: In November 2023, we will begin our Christmas campaign. It will follow the same format as last year, Giving 22. This will remain the same as Ben was only 22 when he left this world. Any donation containing amounts of 22 or anyone who wishes to donate multiples (i.e. 22 x 2) is more than welcome.

What We Have Been Up To:

On August 30, 2023, an awareness bench was placed on the campus of the Avera Addiction and Rehabilitation Center. To have the support of the most loving and compassionate Avera leaders, Dzenan Berberovic and Thomas Otten by our sides, made for an incredible unveiling. To Ben’s friends who were able to be in attendance together with parents who knew Ben, thank you so much for being our tribe. So much of our strength and belief in what we are doing comes from you all. Malia, and the staff of the Rehab center, thank you for your help in getting the bench put in place and joining us as we remembered Ben. Eric Muckey from Lost & Found, together with Suzie Ryks and staff of Helpline Center, working side by side with you is always such a gift and it is through collaboration, change will come!

For me, the most encouraging part of the event was having the guests of the rehab center join us for the unveiling and listening as to how the bench came to be placed. The courage they showed in acknowledging addiction is part of their lives, is the first step to healing. These folk have every reason to be proud of themselves.

Suicide and Crisis Hotline Bench 1
In memory of our beloved Benjamin.
Dzenan Berberovic and Angela Drake, two of the greatest people who have helped us every step of the way.
Young men who are always ready to step up,
Antonio Casiello, and Erik Muckey
Suicide and Crisis Hotline Bench 4
Unfailing in their love for Ben.
Joe Angerhofer, Jack Peery, Cole Edwards, Jordan Boone, Antonio Casiello, Logan Kobernutsz and Jack Baker.

A second awareness bench was placed at the University of Lincoln Nebraska on September 26, 2023. As many of you know, this is where Ben went to school and was at his happiest before brain illness took hold. Paul was there for this unveiling.
In line with the very successful placement of an Awareness Bench in memory of Ben at Avera Addiction Center, we approached Dean Kathy Farrell of the UNL Business School on donating and placing a bench on the college campus.

We were welcomed with open arms by the faculty of UNL and staff found an amazing place to have it placed. The location of the bench was to be at the School of Business, in the main area of the lecture halls and study rooms. This is one of the most trafficked areas of the business school campus.

On arrival at UNL, I was welcomed by Dean Farrell’s team, Sheri Irwin-Gish, and Rik Barrera. I cannot express enough how warm the welcome was and how much organization had been put into the unveiling, The event was well attended by students, faculty and UNL’s counselors. I was also able to talk to the campus newspaper’s staff.

I had a great opportunity to spend time with Dean Farrell and to learn how much commitment she has to her student’s welfare. In particular, their mental health. This has led to training of faculty to look for and identify the signs of changes in a person’s demeanor/behavior. Well done to UNL for recognizing the importance of being proactive. I continue to admire Dean Farrell for all the work she is doing to provide her staff and students with the best care possible.

While the event was sad, it was heartwarming at the same time. Ben’s death is something our family and his friends live with each and every day; however, we have all learned a very important and life changing lesson. Take time to get to know people and show kindness always as one never knows the deepest thoughts of another person. Behind the biggest smile and the happy exterior, someone you love may be hiding an illness of the mind. Alone we cannot make big changes but if we all work hard to change the three feet surrounding us, just perhaps, we can bring hope and compassion back to the world.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved. We are looking forward to working with the faculty and students of UNL in the future.

Suicide and Crisis Hotline Bench 5
Paul with Erik Muckey and Dr. Kathy Farrell Dean of the College of Business, UNL. The rainbow on the wall we believe was more than coincidence. Perhaps a beautiful sign from heaven .
Suicide and Crisis Hotline Bench 6
Faithful friends, Steve Ronspies, Frank Longo, and Chase Longo.

Spotlight:

The following is a little about the non-for-profit, Benches for Josh, written by his mom, Cindy Nadelbach.

On May 22nd, 2018 we lost our son Joshua Nadelbach to suicide at the young age of only 21 years. He battled depression and anxiety, which started when he was about 15. After therapies and medication management for the last 2 years, it seemed that all this was in the past. He was, as I would say, like in remission. He was working a lot, going out with friends, planning his future, and was always just out and about. Well apparently, that smile he put on his face was actually a fake one, he was suffering still but this time in silence. Like any other illness he fought the battle and ultimately, he lost it. He wanted to live, he just wanted the pain to stop. The pain was the internal turmoil only he knew, and he lost the battle to this horrible illness called Depression and Anxiety. Josh was a kind soul, a wonderful son, and brother to Lauren, our daughter. Everyone said he was a true friend and that he was always there to lend a helping hand. He was a bright student who loved to spend time with his friends, go to concerts, and do all the things that 21-year olds like to do. We were actually told after he passed that he had been there for several of his friends who also suffer with depression and anxiety, while keeping his feelings to himself. He helped many through their struggles and was a selfless individual. He put the needs of others in front of his needs, when he was the one who needed help, but did not reach out for it. We believe that by doing this it gave him inner happiness and peace to know he was making a difference in other people’s lives.

Peer2Peer Mentorship Programs

In our close work with Lost & Found, the decision was made not to run a story on a mentor or mentee but instead, share a video. My thanks to Lost & Found.

Erik’s attached email addresses the content.

“Hey everyone,

I wanted to make sure to follow up with you all today on a video that is critical to our work for the Peer2Peer Mentorship program. Earlier this fall, we worked with our dear friend Leigh Longley, representing the Longley Foundation, and 4Front Studios to create a video that could be shared with all of our peer mentors and mentees.

With some final editing today, including closed captioning options, the video is now complete and ready to be shared-

Carrie, Corey, and Christina, as you continue to train mentors and share the story of this work with mentees, I ask that you please share this video to share the story of the Longley family’s impact on Peer2Peer Mentorship and their commitment to us.

Leigh, thank you so much for your courage and partnership with us, and I’m so excited to see the impressive quality of this video go out in front of mentors and mentees. It’s so important for all of these students to know that there is hope and help, and that your partnership helps make this possible.

Thanks to all of you for your hard work!”

VOA Dakotas

Testimony from the LifeMarks Program

There is a young woman who came into services for trauma therapy. It appears that her anxiety and trauma is what triggers her to relapse. Due to this young lady being in therapy before where other methods were tried but were unsuccessful., the decision was made by the LifeMarks team to try Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). In this therapy, a patient will move their eyes in a specific way while processing their traumatic memories and past. The goal is to help them heal from that past trauma and other of life’s distressing events. Thank you from her, for helping with her copay and first session of so she can get started on her journey to recovery and mental wellbeing. Nicole Burger, MA, LAC, CPS, QMHP, LPC-MH Supervisee Outpatient Therapist

New Happenings

We are excited to announce we have partnered with Give Smart to conduct all future fundraising events. Hopefully, this will help in all aspects of the Longball 22 Tournament and other donating opportunities.

Our 1st fundraising event utilizing Give Smart is our Christmas 22 campaign. It may seem a little strange that the number 22 is still applicable this year; however, as with the golf tournament forever being the Longball22 Golf Classic, Christmas 22 will always be this campaign’s name. Many know and understand the significance of the number 22 to our family but, for people who are new to our loss, Ben was only twenty-two when he left this world.
We would be most appreciative if family, friends, friends-of-friends or even people who don’t know us but know Ben’s story, would consider donating any amount that contains the number 22 or multiples thereof. Funds raised during the months of November and December 2023, and part of Christmas 22, will be donated to the Wellmark’s Behavioral Health Program at VOA. The money will continue to be used to pay for the initial intake procedure and assessments for Sioux Falls residents who may not have financial stability, thereby ensuring patients are correctly enrolled in a treatment program.

This campaign will run through Give Smart from November 22, 2023, through January 22, 2024.

Looking Ahead

Leigh will be back in Sioux Falls in November 2023, to attend the Gary Gaspar Symposium for Suicide Prevention and Care. What an honor to be included in this event. Learning from others who share a vision and have been impacted by the tragedy of suicide. We are blessed to be part of such an amazing family of survivors!

On behalf of the board of the Longley Foundation and the family of Ben, we thank each and every one for your continued love, compassion, and support. May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here’s to more advocacy and changes to the narrative and stigma of brain illness and suicide in 2024!

Get ready to mark your calendars soon: