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Come walk in celebration of those lost

Hello, my name is James Lipscomb, and I am writing you this evening on behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The foundation is a nationwide organization that has many positive benefits. One of its fundraisers is the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, which supports research for suicide prevention and awareness.

I wish to inform you of many more benefits of participating in this free non-profit organization, but first I would like to share how this organization has helped me personally.

Submitted photo — Richard Todd Lipscomb died in a suicide on Nov. 12, 2007.

On Nov. 12, 2007, my youngest brother, Richard Todd Lipscomb, made the sudden decision to end his life by way of suicide. I, along with all other family members and friends, had a very tough time dealing with such a sudden tragedy until my mother, Jan Lipscomb, discovered the organization.

I for one was very reluctant to participate in the walk, and for three years I refused to do so. I was under the impression that I would have to relive Nov. 12, 2007, but how was I ever more wrong.

At the fourth annual Out of the Darkness Walk I made the decision to accompany my family and Todd’s friends, only because my 3-year-old son was reciting the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the walk. I told myself, I’ll go listen to Michael and once he’s through, I will leave so I won’t have to participate. Upon completion of the pledge, I found myself not wanting to leave, but instead wanting to help out.

I noticed people from as far away as New Orleans present at the walk. At this point in time I finally realized that this was not a mourning site, but instead a celebration to honor the fallen.

Once I engaged in the walk, I learned that I had been missing out for four years of my brother’s celebration.

I have been volunteering to do all sorts of things this year.

This will be the fourth annual Out of Darkness Walk in the Miss-Lou, and I am here to say that it is well worth attending, even if you have not lost someone personally, you can still attend this walk to help the fundraising organization.

I would like to share a few statistics on the illness of suicide.

I am a police officer, and I deal with and see a lot throughout the course of a day, along with thousands in our field. On average, every 53 hours a police officer in the United States commits suicide.

After performing research, I also discovered that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and every 13.7 minutes, someone dies as a result of suicide.

Also, 90 percent of people who die by way of suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

I could continue to list statistics, but instead, I would like to speak on behalf of all the younger people within the community.

Upon my brother’s death, I really began to pay attention to the rate of suicide deaths in the Miss-Lou and quickly learned that it is a very rapidly growing issue.

The Miss-Lou has lost so many young, outgoing and caring youth, and it saddens my heart every time I hear of it.

I beg and plead for anyone who has lost someone due to suicide, for anyone who has attempted or is considering suicide, to please come join this organization.

It is a free, non-profit organization that is filled with people that are willing to talk to others regarding their problems.

I would love to see a great turnout at get to meet all of the great people of the Miss-Lou.

The walk will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Vidalia Riverfront Amphitheater.

Registration can be done in advance online at www.outofthedarkness.org or at 9 a.m. Saturday. Raffle drawings will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by a balloon release at noon.

Free drinks and hot dogs will be available after the walk.

Come join us in the celebration of many lost lives as well as the prevention of others.

We are all here for each other, and in the end, we need one another to survive.

 

James Lipscomb is a supporter of the Out of Darkness Walk, a local law enforcement officer and the brother of a suicide victim.