Continuing a Passion for Helping Others
The HOPE Fund, established in memory of Baron O’Neal, is dedicated to assisting in providing hope and encouragement to paramedics, EMTs, and other first responders who face struggles with PTSD, depression, and trauma, too often accompanying and exaggerated by the stresses of their jobs and extreme life experiences. Monies in the HOPE Fund will be used to help fund grants to new and existing programs designed to assist in preventing suicides and to train paramedics and EMTs in self-care and in recognizing and intervening when suicidal thoughts in their peers appear.

The HOPE Fund is established in memory of Baron O’Neal. Those who knew Baron knew a man of compassion, empathy, and a big heart, a passion to help others, especially those finding themselves in troubling life situations, struggling to change their future.

Baron was medically retired from Richland County EMS (Columbia, SC) after breaking his back on the job. While at Richland County and after retiring as a paramedic, his passionate concern for his co-workers and peers was evidenced by his hours working to offer personal support and speaking out on behalf of those living with horrors of PTSD and depression.

Following his retirement, Baron put himself through Columbia International University (CIU) with degrees in psychology and Bible. From there he worked with agencies dealing with sexual trauma, abused children, autistic children, and troubled teens in care of the DJJ. Baron often helped the homeless and others whether they were stranded on the road or needed clothes, meals, or a hotel room for a few nights for the homeless.

At the same time Baron was a loving and devoted son and a father to his young daughter. Baron is remembered for teaching his daughter to cook and bake, fish, hunt, camp, care for pets, and he always was present to support her in all of her activities.

Baron’s parents became aware of BRCIC and LOSS teams following the loss of their son and know he would be pleased to know that a part of his legacy is the establishment of this HOPE Fund to help our Paramedics and EMTs through programs to encourage and assist them as they too serve us.
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