Family fest, 5K walk to raise suicide awareness
BY DAN MORAN email@example.com September 19, 2013 12:16PM
Updated: October 21, 2013 2:12PM
In an effort driven in part by three suicides within the Waukegan Police Department in recent years, the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force will host a fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 21, featuring back-to-back events.
The program, which will be held behind the Genesee Theatre at Sheridan Road and Clayton Street, starts at 11:15 a.m. with a 5-kilometer walk that will take participants north on Sheridan to Bowen Park and back.
The entry fee is $25. Participants can register anytime between 11:15 a.m. and noon, and start their walk at any time after signing up.
The second phase of the event is a free family festival running from noon to 5 p.m., featuring food vendors, music, a raffle and a K-9 demonstration. There also will be games provided by People’s Choice Fun Center, including a dunk tank. Mayor Wayne Motley is scheduled to enter the tank from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m..
All proceeds will benefit the task force, a consortium of public and private agencies that meets monthly at the Lake County Health Department’s headquarters on Grand Avenue in Waukegan. Participating members include the Lake County Coroner’s office, area school districts and the health department.
The task force’s stated mission is “to deepen awareness, prevent suicide and save lives through education, linkage to resources and treatment within the community.”
Tom Granger, a Waukegan police officer who volunteers with the Suicide Prevention Task Force, said a specific goal is to make sure those in need are made aware of resources available to them.
“We try to promote the programs that do exist any way we can,” said Granger, adding that the task force aims to enhance the benefits of “every crisis-intervention effort in the whole county.”
The Waukegan Police Department endured three suicides within its ranks between May 2011 and January of this year. Fundraisers have been held to benefit the families of the deceased officers.
Granger said the 5K fundraiser and the department’s participation in the task force was inspired in part by a need “to help other officers down the line (through) an organization that can help do some good.”
According to the health department, information booths will be hosted by the task force, Lake County Adolescent Trauma, Catholic Charities Veterans Program, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Waukegan Public Library, the Center for Wellness of Mundelein, Outpost Cross Fit Training, Arden Shore, Vista Health and One Hope United.
For more information about the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force, call (847) 377-8180.