Headrest Supporters Ramble
Samson Charron, 3, center, of Thetford, eats a cookie offered by siblings Joey, 3, and Dominic Palazzo, 5, bottom, at a hydration and snack station while Samson's father David Leib, right, talks to Gay Palazzo, left, in Lebanon on September 2, 2013. Charron and Leib were participating in the Rail Trail Ramble, a suicide prevention organization fundraiser. Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — After a Labor Day morning of answering the suicide hotline at Headrest’s office , Hotline Coordinator Jo-An Morin made her way across town for a barbecue, the culminating event of Headrest’s 10th annual Rail Trail Ramble fundraiser.
Participants set out on the Northern Rail Trail about 10 a.m. from Lebanon and walked, ran or bicycled up to the six and a half miles to Enfield before returning to Lebanon at noon for live music and a barbecue donated by Mascoma Savings Bank.
“It’s a great family event, which I think makes this fundraiser unique,” said Dan Evans, a Headrest board member. “Families come and walk half a mile or 13 miles, but either way they are supporting a worthy cause.”
The Rail Trail Ramble benefits Headrest, a nonprofit organization based in Lebanon that offers addiction and crisis support services, for residents of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine who cannot otherwise afford these services. In addition to counseling and transitional living services, Headrest offers a 24-7 crisis support hotline at 1-800-273-TALK, which fields approximately 10,000 calls per year, making it the third largest crisis support hotline in New England by volume, Morin said.
“It’s like running a relay,” said Mike Cryans, Headrest’s executive director of the hotline. “Somebody always has to be there to pick up.”
A 42-year, 375,000 hour relay perhaps — the hotline has been staffed continuously since Headrest was founded in 1971.
“We had a few calls this morning,” Morin said. “It definitely adds relevancy to this fundraiser.”
This year, 170 people participated in the fundraiser, according to Evans, which is line with participation numbers from past years.
“I was listening to the pouring rain all night and worried that no one would show up,” said Al Carbonneau, Headrest’s residential manager. “But we had a great turnout.”
Though the exact numbers for this year won’t be compiled for several days, Cryans said that he expects the event to raise between $17,000 and $18,000. These funds will go directly to Headrest’s operational costs, including staffing the hotline and counseling services.
Amanda Moodie, 37, of Lebanon, currently lives at Headrest and biked the six and a half miles to Enfield with her son, Tori Michael, 13.
“It was a good experience,” she said.
Moodie wasn’t the only participant connected to the cause. Mark Pfeil and Vicki Haas, of West Lebanon, participated in the fundraiser for their sixth year, and said that they walk to support a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. “
We think this is a very worthy cause, and we wanted to come support it,” Pfeil said.
Haas nodded, “I just think people who abuse alcohol and drugs deserve a second change to turn things around,” she said. “They deserve to get a fresh start on life.”