Some news and thoughts from the ICFF team.

A Sweet Day at the Zoo

This month’s connection event was the seventh to be held at Brookfield Zoo, a venue that has become an ICFF fall tradition. Sixty military family members came together for a day of unity and camaraderie, fun and remembrance.

The day kicked off with a bingo-style scavenger hunt, with attendees encouraged to get to know one another by finding members who possessed unique traits; laughs and tidbits of odd information quickly permeated the room.

Rush Road Home again hosted their popular memory jar session, helping family members represent their feelings with glitter, stars, hearts, and well-chosen words. Continue reading “A Sweet Day at the Zoo”

Playing – and Healing – in Peoria

This was our first time doing the event in Peoria at the Riverfront Museum, and it was a wonderful experience. We loved the location because the families could combine it with exploring the museum, planetarium and IMAX movie theater.

The idea for a Peoria gathering arose because because we try to move the downstate event to be accessible to survivors in central and southern parts of the state. It’s still a long drive for many, Illinois being a long, tall state (390 miles long and 210 miles wide)! We are impressed and humbled that some families drive literally hundreds of miles to share their stories, honor their loved one and connect to support each other. Continue reading “Playing – and Healing – in Peoria”

Coping with Loss by Suicide

While any loss of a military service member is hard on the family left behind, it can be especially difficult when a loved one is lost to suicide. In 2014, an average of 20 U.S. veterans died by suicide each day, which is 18% of the total amount of deaths by suicide in the U.S. adult population for that year. Research on suicide indicates that every suicide death leaves approximately six “suicide survivors,” people who are intimately and significantly impacted by the loss. This means that in 2014 alone, 43,800 family members and friends of those who served were devastated by such a loss. Additionally, from 2005 to 2010, active service members took their own lives at a rate of approximately one every 36 hours. Needless to say, suicide is a striking and tragic issue of concern for the U.S. military community. Continue reading “Coping with Loss by Suicide”