Jerry Williams was many things to many people in the Ohio Valley. He was a business leader, a volunteer, a friend and neighbor. And he was our husband, father and grandfather. He was smart - with just a high school degree he rose through the ranks of a major corporation to become an executive. He was strong - he was a young father who worked hard and sacrificed whatever was necessary to protect his family. And he was funny, always ready with a joke, a smile and an easy laugh. In fact, after he died that’s what his family often heard from so many people…” but he was always so happy”. Jerry Williams died by suicide, two days’ shy of his 75th birthday, after waging a courageous battle with depression.
Our family really didn’t fully understand depression and too many times felt that Jerry could pull himself out of it if he just tried. After all, never in his life had anything been thrown at him that he couldn’t conquer. He talked about suicide, but we believed the myth that talking about it meant that he would never do it. We were wrong.
The vision for Jerry’s Walk is two-fold. First, we will bring what is truly a public health issue out of the shadows and into our conversations. Second, we will raise money for suicide prevention programs for local schools and training programs for local counselors who work with those struggling with suicidal thoughts.