‘Incredible Progress’ For Klump Fund’s Efforts

‘Incredible Progress’ For Klump Fund’s Efforts

SNOW HILL – In 2009, a Snow Hill High School senior took his life just months before graduation.

While the tragic death of 17-year-old Jesse Klump was a blow to the community, his family and friends wasted no time in turning their loss into an effort to increase suicide awareness and prevention programs across the Lower Shore. Today, the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund provides student scholarships, coordinates support group meetings and offers outreach programs.

“We’ve made incredible progress,” said Ron Pilling, secretary of the organization. “We’ll take our message anywhere on the Lower Shore we’re asked to and we never charge.”

After Kim Klump’s son died, she realized the area was in need of additional resources relating to suicide awareness and prevention.

“It was a much needed advocacy group we formed,” she said.

The support group Klump now participates in, for those who have lost loved ones to suicide, has shown her that.

“That’s one thing that had an immediate impact,” she said, adding that the group also reached a significant number of people by participating in area health fairs.

The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund’s latest effort is promotion of the film Project 22. The feature length film, created by a pair of Marines, portrays the problem of suicide among military veterans. When it was created, 22 veterans a day were committing suicide. The film depicts a cross-country journey made by the two Marines as they interviewed their fellow veterans, researchers and healthcare providers.

“It’s a critically acclaimed film made by a couple veterans about the epidemic of veteran suicide,” Pilling said. “We’ve shown it eight times locally to great reviews. It’s heartwarming and gut-wrenching.”

Pilling said the Klump Memorial Fund purchased the rights to Project 22 so it could be used in the group’s outreach efforts. The group has shown it several times locally and expects it to be screened during LZ Maryland, a two-day event honoring Vietnam veterans to be hosted by Maryland Public Television at the state fairgrounds in June.

“There’s a good likelihood we’ll be in Timonium screening the film which is a big deal because they’re expecting 100,000 people,” Pilling said.

Klump said the film has allowed her group to help even more people.

“It was an audience we weren’t really reaching,” she said.

Aside from promoting the film, Pilling and Klump said the group would continue its education and outreach efforts as well as its fundraisers, which provide money for materials and training as well as the group’s annual scholarship.

For more information on the Klump Memorial Fund or for resources related to suicide, visit www.jessespaddle.org or www.choosetolivemaryland.org.