BREMEN -- Grieving the death of a close family member is never easy, but for youth, it can be a troubling and confusing time. This is something that Bremen native, Viki Brown, understands personally. After losing her first husband, Dustin Cullens, in a one-vehicle accident a few years ago, her children struggled immensely with the trauma. “Talking one-on-one with counselors was hard for them,” explained Bremen police officer Matt Schnaible.
The one thing that helped the most was a children and family grief center in Goshen, IN called Ryan’s Place. “They have other children there who have been in similar situations. One of her kids… said, ‘Hey Mommy, I really like Ryan’s place. I’m here with another kid. We’re talking and his dad died in a car accident, too.’ So it was a good connection for the family,” said Schnaible.
Brown was impressed by how much the connections at Ryan’s Place—both with other children and with trained adult facilitators—helped her children heal after losing their father. “She wanted to start something in Marshall County,” Schnaible said. “She felt there was a need for it in Marshall County, so they’ve been working with us and she founded Dustin’s Place.” Dustin’s Place, which will be located in Plymouth Community Church on Jefferson Rd., will be celebrating their ribbon cutting on Friday, Nov. 15.
Officer Schnaible, who is a board member for Dustin’s Place, is one of several Bremen police officers who feels strongly about the mission of this non-profit organization. As a further show of solidarity, the Bremen Police Department will be supporting Dustin’s Place through their annual No-Shave November fundraiser. “100 percent of the donations to Dustin’s Place goes directly to activities that the children will do.” explained Schnaible. “We’re trying to push the fundraiser. Currently the Marshall County Sherriff’s Department has agreed to join us.”
The fundraiser is also open to civilians, both men and women. Anyone interested is welcome to stop by the Bremen Police Station to drop off the suggested $20 donation and then set aside the razor until the end of November. Participating members will be listed on the Police Station lobby window.