Paying tribute, offering hope (WITH GALLERY)

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2021

Suicide prevention walk draws 120

On Monday, about 120 people gathered at the Lawrence County Courthouse to memorialize those lost to suicide and to promote help for those who need it.

A walk to the riverfront was organized by Impact Prevention, a local, nonprofit group, which works with youth in the community and focuses on drug abuse and suicide prevention.

Signs carried had messages such as “You are worthy” and “You are not alone,” while messages were also written in chalk around the courthouse.

“We are promoting hope and community awareness in our beautiful town of Ironton,” Meagan Joseph, program manager for the group said.

She said they were also joined by those from Lawrence County Recovery and local groups of students, organized by Ironton High School student Natalie Wilds.

The group walked to the river, where members of the crowd were invited to speak about friends and family members they had lost.

A moment of silence was held and then biodegradable luminaries were placed in the water.

After this was done, Joseph spoke about the group’s project to create an interactive mural on the city’s floodwall about suicide prevention.

But she said, until a design was created, they would work to create a placeholder and had the youth each dip their hands in paint and leave handprints on the sections the city had reserved for the mural.

Lawrence County commissioners DeAnna Holliday and Freddie Hayes Jr. were present at the event and addressed the group, stating it was a personal matter for them, having lost a colleague to suicide.

“We want to commend you on what you’re doing,” Holliday said. “We are grateful for our youth who are making a difference.”

Holliday urges them to think about “the people who passed and those that are still with us” and to make a difference every day.