Grief can take us to a place we never expected. A mother's grief… is a journey no one wants to take. For Carol Castle, the grief of losing her son led to action.
Carol's mission is simple, she wants to put a Life Coin in every first responder’s pocket. She designed the coin six months ago. On it is the phone number for Safe Call Now, a crisis hotline tailored specifically to first responders. It's one line of defense for a police officer or firefighter ion crisis, that she wishes had been in her own son's pocket in 2017.
“My son was 31 when he committed suicide and he was a firefighter for two different departments, Brooklyn Center and Maple Grove,” she explained. “I always say my story starts when I realized that first responders have a double to triple the suicide rate of civilians… I really felt a duty to do something.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention finds the highest rates of suicide are among middle-aged white men. Suicides among first responders are even higher. The statistics show that firefighters and law enforcement officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
Carol’s son, Maurice Roemhild, had grown up in Coon Rapids. He was known as a big guy with an even bigger heart. From the earliest of ages, Carol remembers Maury always wanting to be a first responder. He played several sports growing up, was on the football team for Coon Rapids High School and had an infectious sense of humor. Maury was an Eagle Scout in his teens and eventually became a firefighter.
Carol says she and her son were very close. They spoke often about tough days on the job, but she never saw signs that he was in crisis.
She doesn’t want another mother to feel the loss she is living. So she began handing out coins.
Carol has donated and sold about 2,500 Life Coins throughout the United States and Canada in just six months. One coin costs $18, and anyone can purchase a coin online to adopt-a-cop or firefighter. Some donors have adopted entire departments.
“Something's got to be done, and I couldn't just sit back and let this happen to other moms,” said Carol. “It's needed. It makes me want to do more.”
Learn more about Life Coins here.