Skip to content

Walk promotes prevention, healing

Despite the rainy, chilly morning on Saturday, the 2nd Annual Out of the Darkness Walk in Engler Park saw 243 walkers sign-in and over $7,200 being raised to go toward suicide prevention and awareness.

Almost all of the walkers in attendance had been touched by suicide in some way, with several teams being put together in memory of loved ones who had died by suicide. One such team, “Team Josh,” was made up of family and friends of Josh Marler, who passed away just a few weeks ago.

“Team Josh” walked at Saturday’s event in memory of the late Josh Marler, who passed away earlier this month.

Josh’s parents, Jeremy Marler and Angela Jundt, said family, friends and even strangers in the community have really stepped up to show support for Josh’s family after his death.

“It’s been overwhelming, all the support we’ve had from the community,” Jeremy said. “Not only just friends and family, but churches, businesses and everybody has reached out to us. Everybody has been here to support, and we couldn’t have made it through without them all.”

Jundt said while managing the grief of her son’s death, she has come to realize just what an impact her son had during his life, made evident by the many friends of Josh who have reached out.

“I probably have 50 messages on Messenger from people I don’t know who sent me messages,” Jundt said. “They all start out with, ‘You don’t know me, but …’ It’s been amazing how many people that he touched. He would have been 19 yesterday. In his short life he made so many friends. Everybody loved him.”

Josh’s recent memorial service, which Jeremy and Angela said was more of a celebration of life, further showed the number of people who had been impacted by their son’s life.

“We set up the funeral to allow his friends to open up a little bit, to help them out,” Jeremy said. “It turned into a three-hour service. We had about 20 kids get up and eulogize.”

While the grief of Josh’s passing is still fresh, Jeremy and Angela said they were able to communicate with others who have been through similar circumstances at Saturday’s walk. The importance of the event, they said, was to work toward the possibility of saving even one other life to save another family from the grief they’ve endured.

The walk, which supports suicide education, prevention, awareness and legislative lobbying, is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which stresses the importance of recognizing the signs of depression and other mental illness before the situation progresses.

In Josh’s case, however, Jeremy and Angela said the recognition of his mental illness came too late.

“He hid his mental illness very well,” Angela said.

Jeremy said Josh had been placed in a program last month, but he had begun to fight the process.

“Once he really showed signs, we tried everything we could,” Jeremy said. “But it was a little too late.

“If we can save one life, that would make us feel better,” Jeremy said. “We’re definitely going to pursue continuing to help other people. That’s all we can do from here.”

After the walking portion of Saturday’s event, the attendees were invited to write messages to their loved ones who had passed away due to suicide. The messages were then placed in a fire pit to burn up, with hopes that the messages would reach their loved ones.

Dozens of attendees wrote messages to loved ones who have passed away from suicide. The messages were placed into a fire pit and sent upward, carried by smoke.

Dozens of attendees wrote messages to loved ones who have passed away from suicide. The messages were placed into a fire pit and sent upward, carried by smoke.

For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, visit www.afsp.org.

Individuals gather together for the 2nd annual Out of the Darkness Walk last year at Engler Park in Farmington.

Individuals gather together for the 2nd annual Out of the Darkness Walk last year at Engler Park in Farmington.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

Leave a Comment