CHATHAM, NJ - Curt Ritter is thankful that he doesn't know anyone personally who has taken their own life.
That hardly matters, however, to the Chatham Township Mayor who has dedicated himself to doing all he can to prevent the tragedy of suicide. That was evident at the third annual "Out of the Darkness" community walk held at Cougar Field on Saturday afternoon.
It is hard for Ritter to keep his emotions in check whenever the subject is raised (see video below).
"In addition to raising much-needed funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, our annual Out of the Darkness Walk is also about our commitment to increasing the awareness of suicide and removing the stigma around mental illness so that we can continue to talk about suicide prevention more openly as a community," Ritter said.
"While we had a great walk today the work isn’t over, we must continue to talk and shine a bright light on suicide prevention. The more we talk about it, the more we can make a difference.”
The walk raised $60,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and gave friends and family a chance to remember their loved ones lost by suicide.
Family members stand on stage for the bead ceremony to remember a loved one lost to suicide
Valerie Olpp read a poem in honor of loved ones lost before the walk