February 2018 our family experienced the tragic loss of our beloved son, brother, husband, father and friend. The pain and grief is indescribable. We are all still working on finding a “new normal” and learning how to go on carrying our grief.
Matt often hid his feelings/emotions with a smile and a joke. He had a kind, generous heart and compassion for everyone but held a special understanding for those in need. We hope to carry on Matt’s legacy and help those that are hurting.
A Community Foundation has been established in Matt’s name. The logo, MHT, which people will associate with Mental Health Today, will hold special meaning and forever be recognized as Matt Howe Trucking for his family.
The foundation will have annual funding to support student and community presentations, workshops for parents, training for teachers and healthcare professionals, resources for libraries, community awareness, and grief counseling.
Since beginning the endowment process we have also lost our beloved Thomas. He is loved and missed by his family, life partner, daughter and friends. He is remembered for his smile that could light up a room, his jokes, and willingness to help others. The loss of Tom exemplified the need for education and support in our community in which this endowment hopes to offer.
The main focus of the foundation will be Mental Health Awareness. A person’s mental health is as important as their physical health. People need to feel comfortable and not ashamed to seek counseling or other services, along with being able to talk about it without being looked negatively upon. Family, friends, teachers and co-workers need to be aware of the signs of mental illness and the resources available to help. Treatment is available to help those suffering from lifelong, seasonal and situational mental illness.
Our hope is to take a proactive approach with suicide awareness and prevention. We need to keep this topic at the forefront of conversations. Information, and help need to be regularly provided not after something tragic happens. Resources for those suffering from a loss also need to be readily available.
Experiences throughout life can greatly affect a person’s mental health and wellbeing as a child and adult. Physical, mental and sexual abuse need to be addressed. Friends, neighbors, teachers, and families need to be aware of the signs of abuse and resources for help.
Matt’s last selfless act on earth was to be an organ donor. Although this great kindness offered the family some hope and feelings of good coming from our loss it was an emotional event few can understand. Sharing information of organ donation will help bring awareness of what a wonderful gift of hope and life this can be for others, along with providing support for families of organ donors.