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LaRita Archibald, Founder

Following the suicide of their second child, 24-year old Roger Kent, in 1978, LaRita and Eldon Archibald founded HEARTBEAT.  At inception HEARTBEAT was among the first suicide bereavement support groups anywhere and grew to forty-two chapters around the world.  In 1993 LaRita collaborated with Susan Golden and Janet Perreault to form the Suicide Prevention Partnership of the Pikes Peak Region.  LaRita was one of the Partnership’s  three-person Crisis Support Team contracted by the USAF to develop and train Crisis Teams at USAFE, Ramstein, GR.

A 40+ year member of the American Assn of Suicidology, LaRita helped organize the AAS Survivor committee, served two years as it’s chair, became a Certified Crisis Worker, and made numerous conference presentations.  As an avid supporter of TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)  LaRita provided  military suicide loss survivors encouragement at several TAPS healing conferences.

LaRita retired as HEARTBEAT facilitator in 2012 to write Finding Peace Without All The Pieces After A Loved One’s Suicide, her book of healing and hope for those suffering loss by suicide.  

Kevin & Betty Van Thournout

On July 10, 2014, our sweet, kind-hearted, red-headed baby ended his life.  He had just turned 26 years old.  We were absolutely and totally devastated.  We didn’t know where to turn or what to do, we were in such shock.  We knew there had to be others out there who were walking this grief journey as well.  After a web search, we found a wonderful organization entitled Heartbeat Survivors After Suicide.   We were welcomed and loved on from the moment we attended our first meeting.  Without this wonderful peer support group, who knows how we would have handled Ryan’s death.  As time went by, we got the opportunity to facilitate this group and to help others are they are on their grief journey after they’ve lost a loved one to suicide.  It is our calling and our passion.  We too, will welcome you from the moment you step through the doors.  We are so very sorry that you are now a part of this ‘club’, but always remember, you’re not alone.

In memory of

Ryan Ford Van Thournout

June 6, 1988 – July 10, 2014


Chuck Smith

In memory of

CJ Smith

Nov 24, 1985 - Jun 5, 2008

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