WHY? That question has been asked several times since the conception of the Alive & Running Dunkerton 5K Run / Walk For Suicide Prevention. So, we decided to answer that question.
This dates back to Jan 8, 1991. As sophomores @ Dunkerton Community High School, the class of 1993 lost a classmate. We lost him in a way we never dreamed imaginable. Several of his closest friends received a phone call before school that cold Tuesday morning from his parents. They woke that morning and couldn't find their son. Most of us figured he had maybe gone on a walk (he liked to think and clear his thoughts). One classmate felt something deep inside, a need to be there.....a need to help look for him. He went to the farmhouse to help the parents search for their son.
We all remember how when the bell rang to end second hour, no students were allowed to leave their classrooms. "Why not?"...."I have to get to my next class"...."I need to use the restroom"....."You can’t keep us in here"......."What's going on". All those excuses were tried and none worked. We weren’t leaving our classrooms. That is, until the announcement was made. The teachers announced that "A member of the student body had been shot". You can imagine the response of the students. "Murder?"...."Where?"...."Who?".
Soon the details were released. Rodger Dos, our 15 year old classmate, had taken his life. He had committed suicide. Remember the young man who felt the need to help look for him. It was his worst nightmare. He found his best friend laying in the snow. At first he thought he was maybe unconscious. When he got up to him, he saw Rodger as he never dreamed imaginable. Rodger had taken his life with a gun.
We all lost someone that day. Some lost a son, some lost a brother, some lost a grandson, some lost a close friend, some lost a teammate, some lost a student, some lost an acquaintance. We all lost......because Rodger felt he had nowhere to turn. Sure, looking back, all the warning signs were there. Hindsight is 20/20.
That was 24 years ago. Fast forward to today. The young man who found Rodger that day is Ryan Nesbit. After many years of inner turmoil, lost sleep, late night conversations with friends & family, he has decided to help. He wants to help another "Rodger". He wants to prevent this from happening again. He wants people to know there are other options. Ryan attended a support group facilitator training in May of 2010 in St. Louis. This training focused on developing skills to "birth" a support group and then also facilitate the group. Ryan also attended a training in March of 2011 with a focus on teen loss to suicide. Both of these trainings are through AFSP and expenses are covered by money raised at events like the Dunkerton 5k.
I have been Ryan's friend since 1980. We can't begin to count the hours of conversations, the emails, the tears and the memories that Rodger's death has provided. When he called me about "giving back", I jumped at the chance.
So, to answer the question...."Why?". Why are we having a suicide awareness and prevention 5K Run / Walk? That is why. We want to save lives.
We hope you will join us. Volunteer....participate....donate money....raise money. Everyone has their role. What will yours be?Type your paragraph here.