Being the Light: Father Looks for Good After Son's Suicide

'Out of the Darkness' Suicide Prevention Walk

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A record number of Arkansans laced up their shoes for the 10th annual 'Out of The Darkness' suicide prevention walk Sunday. 

Roughly 3,000 people marched for three miles, starting at Dickey Stephens Park.

Among those was Coach Spike Dean. His oldest son Jordan Dean, 31, committed suicide back in September of 2014. After three years, the Dean family was ready to walk. 

 "Unless you go through this you don't know. You don't know how bad the pain is 24/7," Dean said. 

But for the 2,800 walkers surrounding the Dean family, they do know, like Dodi Miller. 

 "It's a melting pot of different emotions," she said.  

Miller's ex-husband died 4 years ago. After 11 walks, she now volunteers with the Arkansas Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  

 "To come together as a large family and to be able to support each other, because we don't just have walkers here that have lost somebody but we have people that are battling as well," Miller said. 

A battle sometimes fought in darkness. 

"Us talking about it and having that door open for all of us to be able to share our feelings is probably the most important thing," Miller said.  

But this family tragedy is something Dean  is determined to use for good.  

 "I feel like I'd be cheating Jordan if I didn't use this as a positive stepping stone to help others," Dean said. 

As he coaches kids from kindergarten to graduation, his priority is on the positive. 

"It's a hurting world. And I feel like my job now is to be some type of light. Be some type of person that is going to be there and get kids through that."

This year, the Arkansas Foundation for Suicide Prevention raised 116,000 dollars. 

They're already planning for next year's event. 


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