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SOUTH JORDAN -- This year, Jan. 15 took on a new significance for survivors of the corporate plane crash that killed eight men outside Malad, Idaho.
This year, on what has largely been a solemn anniversary the tragic event, the mood was one of light and hope Saturday as the founder and board of directors of The Bradley Center for Grieving Children and Families opened its doors to the public.
"He loved a good party, especially if he had a starring role," said the center's executive director Carrie Moore, wife of Bradley Moore, for whom the center is named. "I'm sure, somewhere in this room, he's here."
The center will offer faith-based, age-matched peer group support with trained volunteer facilitators and staff at the American Heritage School at 11100 S. Redwood Road. Moore said the facility will provide a safe place for families trying to cope with loss, using their religious faith as a resource.
Every time you have a soccer game or school activity and your parent doesn't show up, you're in a different category than your friends.
When the plane crash occurred many of the victims were the fathers of young children. There were very limited options to seek help for her three children, Moore said, noting that there was a lengthy waiting list and no program that "incorporated God into the discussion."
So she and her children hung tight to the most important constants in their lives, their faith and family.
"Without either of those elements, I don't know where we'd be."
Janice Taylor, whose husband Craig also died in the crash, said it was good to mark the anniversary of the event in a positive manner. "Usually, the 15th (of January) you wake up and it's a stark reminder."
Taylor's children were 5, 7 and 14 years old when their father died. Her youngest son turned 6 two days after the crash.
For children, understanding death and the grieving process can be confounding. "Even for my older daughter, there were a lot of questions," Taylor said.
Moore said her 7-year-old daughter waited on the stairs of her home every night waiting for her father to come home following the crash.
Without proper support, grieving children are at risk of developing depression, anxiety, a drop in school performance, withdrawal, lowered self esteem, panic disorders and self destructive behaviors such as substance abuse or suicidal ideation.
"This is important for children who tend to feel very, very marginalized and different no matter what the setting is," said Moore. "Every time you have a soccer game or school activity and your parent doesn't show up, you're in a different category than your friends."
Moore said one in seven children in the United States will experience the death of a parent or sibling before age 20. That would mean roughly 70,000 children in Salt Lake/Utah counties. "Chances are you know someone who has had that experience."
Among the supporters of the center kickoff was Greg Miller, chief executive officer of the Utah Jazz. Miller's family recently experienced the violent slaying of his wife's mother, Sherry Black. "The healing depends on how much we invite God into our healing process," he said.
Moore said training of volunteers will be conducted in February and programs should start no later than March 1. For information about the center, [CLICK HERE].
Contact the center at (801) 302-0220 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.