A legacy left to help save others

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PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan is expanding its anti-bullying campaign “be nice.” to Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

The newly-created David Braganini Memorial Fund is making the expansion possible.

The Braganini family created the memorial fund with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation to help schools in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties that want to offer the “be nice.” program. Around 16,000 students in Van Buren County and 35,000 students in Kalamazoo County will have access to the program.

The memorial fund is a tribute to David Braganini, the former president of St. Julian Wines in Paw Paw, who died by suicide in 2016.

His family says he struggled with depression. They hope the memorial fund set up in his name will help save lives.

“I know what it’s like to tell people and cry out for help and they might understand and they might listen but they don’t know how to react,” said Isabella Braganini, David’s niece.

This is the fifth fund created at a West Michigan community foundation for “be nice.” which stands for notice, invite, challenge and empower.

The expansion will officially be announced at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Portage. 24 Hour News 8 will have a crew there.

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