VIDEO: Outreach For Outrigger Tragedy


Guam – After a major tragedy, such as the 18 hour search and rescue mission that was recently conducted for the two local paddlers, Ryan Cepeda and Kayleen Mendiola. Family members and friends often turn towards each other to gain strength and support from one another. But if that isn’t enough, there’s an non profit organization that is available to provide emotional support.

Victims Advocates Reaching Out, also known as VARO is a non profit organization that consists of volunteers who assist and respond to domestic violence and sexual assault cases. But VARO also assists with traumatic events such as the 18 hour search and Rescue mission that recovered the bodies of two young paddlers.

A volunteer from VARO named Josie, who wished to remain off camera due to sensitive cases she is involved with says, she went to Matapang Beach to let family members know there are people out there who care about them.

Josie says,”We are here to offer emotional support and let people know that there are a lot of people out there in then community that are praying for them.”

What we can do is to see what other services we provide for them and let them know that there are people out there that do care

While family members, friends and team mates huddled, hoped and prayed along the shore line at Matapang beach. Josie says she was there to provide emotional support for the families.

Josie says,” You can’t help but cry along side with them. You see them fishing the body out, bringing the body out you feel the pain and loss. Especially at this time of the year. We are suppose to be celebrating a new year and Christmas is just behind us. There maybe some people feeling guilty about what they should have done, could have done , would have done. There maybe some people who may need counseling after-wards and we are here and prepared to see if we can to provide free service. All they need to do is give us a free call our number is 477- 5552.”

Josie also adds that during this time of grieving, it’s important for family members not to blame each about the different circumstances that had taken place that resulted to this tragedy. The reality for the families is to deal with what they have to do today. And then take it one day at a time.