Who We Are…

The Barb Smith Suicide Resource & Response Network is a grassroots organization that has been serving Michigan and beyond since 1989.  The founder and Executive Director, Barb Smith, used her personal experience of losing her 20-year old brother, John, to suicide to build the organization hoping to find purpose for her pain.

Our team of expert trainers deliver evidence-based prevention trainings to people where they live, work, play, and learn with the hope of destigmatizing suicide, increasing help-seeking behaviors, and caring for those impacted by suicide.

Meet Our Staff

Barb Smith

Barb Smith

Executive Director

Anne Kennelly

Anne Kennelly

Program Coordinator

Merry Jo Brandimore

Merry Jo Brandimore

Business Manager

Jamie Wark-King

Jamie Wark-King

Director of Public Relations & Program Development

Board of Directors

Craig Voorheis - President

Craig began his involvement with the Suicide Resource and Response Network in 2006 after his Dad died by suicide. At first the involvement was for his own healing by attending the support group. As the healing increased he helped organize the board, did public speaking, and occasionally facilitated the support group. He has a background in small business ownership, a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State’s Eli Broad School of Business, and is a commercial/agricultural insurance specialist for the Emil Rummel Agency.

Greg Dorrien – Vice President
Greg has been with West Midland Family Center for 31 years and has served as its Executive Director for the last 26 years. A native of Midland, he received his bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Park Management from Central Michigan University in 1984. He dedicates his volunteer time to the Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network in memory of his younger brother Andrew, who left us all way too soon.
Larry Jacobs – Treasurer
A year after the loss of his son to suicide, Larry started attending the survivor group meetings with his wife and started getting more involved. He retired after 49 years working at Dow Chemical and Johnson Controls, working a variety of information technology and management roles. He was also involved in numerous volunteer efforts such as the church board, Boys and Girl Scouts, school organizations, and a Municipal Water Board member. While continuing his volunteer efforts after retiring, he found it easy to offer his assistance and joined our Board of Directors in 2016.
Joan Ford, CHCP – Secretary
Joan is the Administrator of Continuing Medical Education at Central Michigan University College of Medicine in Saginaw. She is a Certified Healthcare CPD Professional with many years’ experience in continuing medical education, from instructional design, accreditation, grant writing, conference development and CME process management. Under Ms. Ford’s administration, CMU College of Medicine was awarded accreditation with Commendation by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, placing CMU College of Medicine among the top tier of accredited institutions nationally.
Dr. Donald Steele – Board Member
Dr. Steele earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from Central Michigan University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Ohio State University. He started his career as a teacher and coach and quickly moved up to school Superinetendent. In 1985 he founded Preformance Learning, Inc; a business dedicated to educating, motivating and empowering athletes, entertainers, leaders and teams across the spectrum of business, industry and education. He has authored 7 books, and is also a professional entertainer (singer and guitarist).
Linda Dorr – Board Member
Linda became involved with the Network after the loss of her 28 year old son when she started attending the support group. She spends her time volunteering around their small family business and helping support the organizations several annual events.
Joan Cramer – Board Member
Beverlee Wenzel - Board Member

How We Can Help

Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network offers prevention education in any setting.  Trainers can be brought into your business, school, recreation, church, or home to provide awareness or evidence based suicide prevention trainings.  Additionally, aftercare services are available in the form of a support group, Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors team and Aftercare training for both professionals who care for the bereaved and those who have been impacted by suicide.  

















The day I lost my son VJ, life as I knew it changed forever. No hope, peace nor strength. The Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network and the Walk for Hope has given me the strength to live, peace to survive and hope for the future.


After many years of losing my father it was easier to sleep than to find a way to live without him…Barb Smith simply sat and talked about my dads life in a way i hadn’t been able to in years. She helped me find a way out of my dark hole…Barb gave me permission to live in his honor and to focus on who he was in his life and not let his death define me or him.


Last year’s Walk for Hope was so inspiring for me. To be able to speak openly about mental illness and see people find connection and hope in each other–that was a beautiful thing to watch. There was a lot of love being shared that day.

Will Heininger

Former U of M Football player/National Speaker

Our community is greatly enriched to have Barb Smith Suicide Resource and Response Network here. As funeral directors, we have seen survivors make it through the first terrible days thanks to the caring and wise council of Barb Smith and the team. Beyond the immediate days following suicide, The Suicide Resource and Response Network continues to help family survivors cope with their loss. The Network has addintionally been a great resource to all of us in helping us serve families of suicide loss.

Mary Lou Case

Case Funeral Home