Comptroller Peter Franchot has virtually presented the annual William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Anne Arundel County to Anne and Ethan Brennan, founders of Burgers and Bands For Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit organization raising awareness to prevent suicide and promote mental wellness.
In 2017, after years of participating in 24-hour fundraising walks for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Ethan Brennan, a student at Severna Park High School, and his mother, Anne, brought together partners Kevin and Jennifer Bonk and many volunteers to host a 27-band fundraiser to remind those suffering from depression that they are not alone. The upbeat, eight-hour fundraiser is now an annual event that brings in tens of thousands of dollars each year. The money raised helps local schools and organization establish and maintain mental health programs to prevent suicide. The impetus for the program was Ethan's own struggle with depression and self-harm, the high suicide rate at Severna Park High School and the lack of available mental health resources to help people.
Since 2012, Franchot has annually traveled to each of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions to honor an individual or organization serving their community. This year, all Schaefer Award presentations will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.