Thank you to all of the volunteers that helped to amass the large pile of gathered refuse, safely bagged and ready to go behind City Hall, despite the rain and an erroneous radio announcement that we had cancelled. I wish I had been able to get more photos, but spent most of the six hours hunting down paper cups, candy wrappers, cans, chip bags, styrofoam plates, plastic bags, straws and lids, and a variety of unspeakably unrecognizable yet fragrant items along the roadside. We picked up areas all over town: Reid Hill, Five Corners, Pulaski Street Bridge, Milton & Fourth Avenues, Church Street, Forrest Avenue, Rt 5 behind the Riverfront Center, Rt 5 to Church Street, East Main Street, Vrooman Avenue, Guy Park Avenue, Elizabeth and Prospect Streets, and the exits to and from the South Side. Folks of all ages showed up, from four to seventy-five years, and proved again what this community is about: commitment, generosity, hard work and pride. To each and every participant, I am enormously grateful for your service. If you’d also taken photos, please don’t be shy about posting them. The rest of this city needs to see what you were up to on this damp but productive day.
Archive for September, 2012
The huge number of loved ones that showed up for today’s 8th Annual Out of Darkness Walk for suicide awareness, research and prevention in Saratoga was incredibly moving. Many of us were there in memory of those that we had lost suddenly, leaving pain that only time, faith, and the support of others can soften. I walked in memory of my father,
Kenneth C. Andersen, an intelligent, gentle, funny, generous, and loving man that took his life in 1974. There were many from Amsterdam that attended in support of the Fiorillo family remembering AHS student Vinnie Fiorillo, as you can see demonstrated by the number of purple shirts below. Organizer Marianne Reid’s family shared this day for her brother that passed five years ago.
There were a few thoughts that I came away with from this day:
1. Our loved ones succumbed to illness, many times resulting from depression or substance abuse. Shame and guilt are unecessary as this illness and its tragic end are no more desired or the fault of the family than cancer or diabetes. The taking of a life is the action of a desperately suffering individual.
2. Survivors do not carry a contagious disease. In dealing with those that have suffered this loss, please be compassionate, respectful, warm, and directly acknowledge their grief. It is the oddest sensation to have people casting furtive glances one’s way and speaking in hushed tones, or to avoid conversation completely. It’s 2012; suicide should not be stigmatized any longer. Suicide is not a dirty word.
3. There is so much love that surrounds us. Today’s walk proves it. For more information on suicide prevention, click here.
Thank you to all that paricipated.