Our Selfless Team
In 2007 I lost my best friend, Luke, to suicide. I will never forget that phone call and the panic attack that came upon hearing the news that my lifelong friend had died by suicide. I questioned myself for days. What could I have done? How did I not know he was hurting so bad? Why didn’t he call me? To this day I still ask many of these same questions. I now know that Luke felt there was no other way to deal with the problems he was facing. Luke felt there was no hope and only darkness ahead.
I work with SpeakUp ReachOut to show people that there is HOPE! And that no one is alone in this journey whether they are struggling with mental health, suicidal ideation or the loss of a loved one to suicide.
In the midst of suicidal crisis the "help" I received was often not helpful. I felt the frustration of those in the urgent care doing their best to meet my needs but not knowing how. I felt the irritation in my friends when I didn't receive their advice with enthusiasm. What I was so desperate for in those moments was nonjudgmental listening and hope. Shortly after my suicidal crisis someone showed up in my life in a brand new way. He listened in a way that was new and refreshing– he saw me, heard me, and got me. This is at the heart of SpeakUp ReachOut– through education, training, and hope to create a community of individuals making this difference.
Our Dedicated Board
I am proud to serve as the Chief of Police in Avon, CO. I have worked for the Avon Police Department for nearly 10 years and began my law enforcement career in 1996. Suicide and mental health calls for service are all too common in my daily work in law enforcement. In 2009, at the request of the Avon Town Council, the police department with other community partners formed Speak Up Reach Out to address suicide in our community. This collaboration is a daily community priority and passion of my own to increase awareness, to educate gatekeepers and to provide hope to those in most need.
At the age of 18 my younger brother began his struggles with suicide, depression and addiction. On Christmas Day 2014 he finally lost his 14 year battle. His story has been my guide in ensuring other families don't go through the pain and grief that my family experienced. My passion and dedication to helping others in a time of crisis led me to playing a pivotal role in the development of SpeakUp ReachOut in 2009 and I look forward to the future and continued momentum of the organization. Outside of my philanthropic visions I enjoy helping families buy, sell and invest in real estate. I work for Sotheby's International Real Estate in Vail Village and spend my free time in the back country skiing, mountain biking, paddle boarding and hiking.
Jill Squyres, PhD
As a clinical psychologist with a private psychotherapy practice, assessing and treating suicidality is an essential part of my professional work. When I moved from Texas to Eagle in 2012, I was dismayed to learn about the high rate of suicide in my new state and county and decided it was important to get involved. In addition, I’ve experienced the loss of a client and a personal friend to suicide. Serving on the board of SURO presents an opportunity to reduce the negative impact of suicide at the grassroots level, which is very meaningful way to honor the memory of those lost.
Member at Large
I heeded the call to join SpeakUp ReachOut’s Board after a beloved family member had attempted suicide. It was a devastating time, I felt so helpless and had no idea where to turn. We both began counseling and that helped us to understand how mental illness could trigger such a devastating event. I started attending SpeakUp ReachOut’s monthly meetings for more information and education. I was soon invited to be on the Board, and gratefully accepted.
I believe that the hope, love and commitment in can help to lower Eagle County’s suicide rate. I aim to make a difference by providing hope, even for for just one person, by reaching out, listening, and letting them know that I care. Saving a life can be done, and I vow to support that cause.
Member at Large
I am a student at CMC and I serve as the Youth Advisor for the Eagle River Youth Coalition. I joined SpeakUp ReachOut because I am passionate about suicide prevention and helping our community. I want to help spread hope, love and faith throughout Eagle County and the rest of Colorado. I believe that by working together we will be able to not only help the people of our community fight mental health issues, but also support those individuals in our neighboring communities. After all, we are in this together.
Hillary Higgins, MA
Member at Large
Throughout my education and career I have focused on supporting the needs of our youth. My passion was ignited when I volunteered with The Signs of Suicide Middle School Prevention Program (SOS). Providing students with the resources to overcome adversity is incredibly rewarding. Young people need to know that there is always hope, and help is just a phone call away.
I was born and raised in Vail. I graduated from Battle Mountain High School and I have Master's of Arts in Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado. I work for the Eagle River Youth Coalition and also for the American Ski Exchange. In my free time I enjoy yoga, cross country skiing, traveling, and a playing with my dog, Tallulah.
Member at Large
I’ve been a resident of Eagle County since 2004, and my family and I love our community. We recognize that everyone has been affected by suicide in one way or another. I’ve dedicated my entire career to the service of others, so joining the SpeakUp ReachOut team was an easy choice. It gives me the opportunity to help our community by bringing awareness to the issues surrounding mental health and suicide.
I hold Bachelors’ and Masters’ Degrees in Health, Recreation, and Management. I’m also certified in QPR, ASIST, and volunteer as an Eagle County Gatekeeper.
Suicide may touch your life someday, so become educated, be prepared, and be willing to give hope to someone in need. Don’t be afraid to reach out Eagle County, you may save a life.
Calling all Volunteers!
We are always looking for more team members and event volunteers. Please fill out the form below if you're also passionate about our cause.