Pay It Forward
Jul 14, 2022
Remembering Reiley - Pay It Forward Funds to Help Other Grieving Families
After Son’s Death, Bell Employee Uses Pay It Forward Funds to Help Other Grieving Families.
“In the midst of their pain and in the midst of their sadness, they were thinking of others. I think that says so much about Jason’s character and his recognition of the importance of doing grief work.” – Sarah Kroenke, The Grief Club of Minnesota co-founder
Bell EmployeeJason Hoopman, Information Systems User Support Supervisor Bloomington, Minn. – Bell Plaza
RecipientSarah Kroenke The Grief Club of Minnesota
The NeedA good friend with an easy smile, 20-year-old Reiley Hoopman was always helping others. Known to friends and family as a “gentle giant” who loved sports, life and joking around, Reiley’s life was cut tragically short following an automobile accident on October 19, 2019.
After the sudden death of his son, Jason Hoopman sought counseling help for himself and his family from Sarah Kroenke, co-founder The Grief Club of Minnesota, which provides services by licensed mental health counselors at no cost to participants so children, teens and their families can navigate grief in healthy ways.
“Grief lasts as long as love, and it’s unique for what everybody needs,” Sarah remarks.
Jason and his family were also able to spend time with other families experiencing similar trauma at Faith’s Lodge, a retreat facility in Wisconsin dedicated to helping families cope with the death of a child.
“We all laughed. We were all singing and dancing together, which most of us hadn’t done since the incident happened,” Jason notes. “Having that sense of community was huge.”
“Everyone knew kind of what everyone else was going through,” says Jason’s daughter, Miriam. “So it was nice because it's not something that a lot of people go through.”
The ImpactWhen considering where to donate his Pay It Forward money, Jason decided to help other families dealing with the loss of a child by giving his funds to The Grief Club of Minnesota.
“What The Grief Club does is we provide the long-term support,” Sarah explains. “We bring people together to process their grief, to remember their person who died and mostly to heal. We wanted to really limit the barriers to their care. So we provide all of our services at no cost. All of that funding comes from philanthropic dollars and people with kind and generous hearts.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.