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TIPS program helps family of Navarre Drowning victim
The body of a swimmer who disappeared in the water off Navarre Beach last night was found this morning.
He's been identified as 19-year-old Nathan Hughey from Louisiana.
He was here on vacation with his family who were left trying to cope with the crisis in a strange town.
In cases like this the volunteers of TIP, the Trauma Intervention Program, step in to help.
The Traumatic Intervention Program of Northwest Florida consists of several volunteers throughout Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties.
Whenever there's a death or disaster, volunteers get called out to the scene and become that liaison between the family and first responders.
These volunteers get called out to any traumatic event or disaster, from a natural death, to a homicide, and in this case, a drowning.
The drowning in Navarre Beach was a different situation from what volunteers are used to.
The victim was on vacation and the family is very much unfamiliar with the area.
In this case, TIP helped the family locate which hospital their loved one was taken to and even helped with letting them know where the nearest restaurants are.
"The biggest thing we find is providing them information people are in need of. They want to know how a search is going, or how things are going or what's taking place. They don't want to feel left out of the loop," said Deanna Smith, Executive Director of TIP.
Two volunteers were with the family on Wednesday, up until Thursday morning when the body was found on Navarre Beach.
Volunteers will stay on the scene for as long as it takes.
The goal is for volunteers to make sure those who have lost a loved one have all the information they need to take the next steps.
"It's really, really great practical information as well as providing a volunteer on scene that provides emotional support," she added.
Volunteers are only there for the initial call on scene, they don't provide long-term assistance, but will call the family the next day to make sure they have everything they need. For more information on the TIPS program.