Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

May 20, 2013

Out of the Darkness walk a celebration of life and hope

Greensburg — The goal of Saturday’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk was to raise awareness and prevention of suicide and depression but it turned out to be more of a celebration of life and hope for those left behind by loss.

One might not think that an event surrounding such a dark topic would be a place to find a wellspring of light and hope, but that’s exactly what the Out of the Darkness Community Walk turned out to be.

A huge crowd was in attendance, both team members and spectators. The Greensburg High School track was filled with people out to support the fight against suicide and depression. The atmosphere was decidedly positive as survivors gathered to spread their messages of hope to others.

It was reported Monday that participants raised $12,600 and that number is still rising.

During the month of May, which happens to be Mental Health Awareness month, donations will be accepted at Just Loafin’. All the money raised will go to the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) for education, outreach and awareness. The money will fund the making of suicide prevention tool kits for schools, help and support for survivors, and the training of individuals to help families in need.

While there were a number of teams walking in support or honor of a particular person, there were several local businesses that were in attendance to support the community as well.

A variety of speakers took turns educating the assembled participants on many different aspects of suicide and associated topics. The event opened with a warm welcome from one of the event’s organizers, Leslie Asche-Thackery. Janet Hodson then took over with an inspiring speech about finding one’s identity through God and then helping others do the same. Hodson also read the lyrics to a song by Matthew West and said a prayer before handing off the microphone to the next speaker.

Kimmie Maxwell, another of the event’s organizers, spoke about her personal struggle with losing a loved one to suicide and the endless questions she was left with in the aftermath. She said that when she realized there would never be any answers to those questions, she decided to celebrate and honor her sister-in-law’s life. Maxwell spoke about last year’s inaugural walk and how pleased she was with the massive turnout for this year. Maxwell ended her speech with the words, “We walk for those we’ve lost, those who are left behind, and all those we’ve yet to save.”

AFSP representative, Lisa Davis, spoke about the different options available to those suffering with depression or suicidal thoughts, as well as the resources available to survivors left behind after a loved one’s suicide. She also listed a variety of ways interested individuals can get involved to help the AFSP and local efforts.

Davis mentioned an AFSP project called Lifekeeper Memory Quilts. Survivors receive a packet with a square of cloth they decorate with memories of their loved one and send to the AFSP. The fabric squares are sewn together and made into quilts, which are then displayed at AFSP events as a way to remember and honor lost loved ones. Anyone interested in obtaining a packet for a quilt square may contact Lisa Davis at 317-430-5000.

Greensburg Police Lieutenant Brendan Bridges then took over to speak about the increasing problem of suicide and the experience of responding to the death of his immediate supervisor, the late GPD veteran, Larry Dance.

He encouraged anyone suffering from depression to seek help. Bridges finished with a comforting message for the Dance family. He said, “Remember, every time you see a Greensburg Police car, Larry is with each member of the police department. He lives on through the lessons he taught to the people he worked with.”

Andy Kinker spoke next about helping his wife, Christy, overcome her abusive past and the resulting suicide attempt. Kinker said that no one can make this journey alone. He encouraged anyone trying to help a loved one overcome a history of abuse and suicidal thoughts to get help and build a support network. He credited his friends and family as the reason why his wife recovered and continues to thrive. He offered, “If you or someone you know needs help, call me. I will help. We will make a support group and talk about it.” Kinker continued to say that getting the bad things out of Christy’s life and surrounding her with a great group of people was the key to her recovery. He added, “If anyone needs help, call. There are people who care. Christy has peace now and you can too. Just don’t give up, help is out there.”

North Decatur High School guidance counselor, Barb Lecher, spoke about the effects on students when a parent commits suicide and the stages of grief that the student must be allowed to go through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Lecher emphasized the need for understanding and compassion. She advised loved ones to give the student space if they needed it, because it is common to shut people out in the wake of a parent’s suicide, but to make sure the student knew they were loved and would not be abandoned. Lecher stressed the importance of not judging or criticizing and said, “There is always hope. There is always tomorrow.” Lecher also said that the warning signs don’t apply to everyone. Sometimes, there is no warning and nothing anyone could have done. Prevention is always the goal, but it isn’t our choice, Lecher said.

Diane McKinney, a representative from Decatur County Memorial Hospital spoke about the hospital perspective on suicide and provided hard facts on the subject. McKinney reported that suicide was the leading cause of death in America, with someone ending their own life every 13 minutes. She also said that 75 to 80 percent of the deaths were men.

She listed some of the warning signs associated with suicidal behavior, but cautioned that the risk factors were just clues and having some, or even all, of the signs did not mean one was suicidal.

Carol Burr, a representative from New Directions, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, spoke about the connection between abuse and suicidal tendencies, both for the abused and the abuser. She urged anyone in a abusive situation to call New Directions for help and support.

Desiree Shaw, granddaughter to Jack Fletcher, a noted Greensburg resident who committed suicide in his 80’s last summer, closed the event with a message of hope. She said suicide didn’t always happen to the depressed. She remembers her grandfather as a bright, loving individual who had a wise answer for every problem she ever presented to him. She said that her family moves forward and remembers him as he was and how much he loved life. She ended her speech with a scripture and the advice to “put your strength with the Lord.”

The event concluded with a balloon release to honor all those lost to suicide, all those left behind to mourn their loss, and all those left yet to be led Out of the Darkness.

More photos from this event can be found at www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com  

 

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004

 

1
Text Only
News
  • nws-gb072914 Casa logo CASA sought for "Jennifer" and "Erica" In order to illustrate and bring awareness to the need for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers in our local community, Advocates for Children will be regularly highlighting one case which is currently on our waiting list. Identifying i

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072914-Self defense pic Smith Martial Arts to hold women’s self-defense class GREENSBURG – It’s an unfortunate fact that women need to know how to protect themselves in today’s society.While it is a comforting thought to believe that someone will help if a woman should find herself in a dangerous situation, there may not alway

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072914-back to school photo 300 students get backpacks, encouragement at Back to School Bash GREENSBURG — With face painting, free hair cuts and backpacks, about 300 local students received some proper primping to help them get over the disappointment that school will begin again next week.About 30 businesses and organizations participated

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072914-devin parson ride pic 2 Ride carries memory of slain boy GREENSBURG – Threatening skies early Saturday morning didn’t dampen or put a damper on the droves that turned out to take part in this year’s annual Devin Lee Parsons “Never Be Forgotten” Memorial Motorcycle Ride.Approximately 55 motorcycles left the

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws-gb072914-ymca 100 gala pic03 Local YMCA celebrates 100th anniversary with Gala GREENSBURG — A summer of centennial revelry culminated Saturday night at the Decatur County Family YMCA with the Celebration 100 Gala.Attendees from around the community joined the Y Board of Directors in reminiscing about the local YMCA’s century-lo

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Family Clothes Closet summer opening approaches WESTPORT – Since 2008, the Family Clothes Closet has opened twice a year to assist local families by providing free clothing for the whole family.Through the combined effort of 24 area churches, five local organizations and many individuals, entire f

    July 29, 2014

  • nws-gb072914-auditor selection pic Chadwell selected as new county auditor GREENSBURG – A group of 16 Republican precinct committee members selected current Decatur County Clerk Janet Chadwell for the vacant County Auditor office during a special caucus at party headquarters Saturday morning.Chadwell, who previously served

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • No confirmation of Philly papal visit PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Whether Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia during a major gathering of the world’s Roman Catholics remained a matter of speculation Friday after the archdiocese said a report he would attend should not be considered confirmation

    July 26, 2014

  • Islamic State destroys Jonah's Tomb in Mosul BAGHDAD (AP) — As Iraq selected a new president, Islamic militants blew up a revered Muslim shrine in Mosul traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah, several residents of the city told The Associated Press.The militants first or

    July 26, 2014

  • Police search Gary for tiger on the loose GARY, Ind. (AP) — Gary police searched the northwest Indiana city for a tiger after receiving several reports of a big cat on the loose.The reports began shortly before midnight Thursday and alleged sightings continued into Friday morning. Officers i

    July 26, 2014