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The Green Bandana Project 5k walk/run barbecue set

The Green Bandana Project (GBP), a non-profit committed to raising awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, will host a family-friendly barbecue and 5k on Saturday, August 12 at 10 a.m. at the LAHS Track and Field in memory of Jesse Economy.

Posted on 8/4/17

Jesse would have celebrated his 25th birthday August 13.

“Jesse’s family, along with many of his friends, wanted to do something to remember him by,” stated Green Bandana Project board member Michael Hanson. “Norm Economy (Jesse’s dad) thought it would be a great idea to have a 5k run and lunch on the weekend of his birthday to remember him, and also bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention.”

“Our main goal is to not only have the run in memory of Jesse,” stated Hanson, “but it is to also bring light to the subject of mental illness and suicide prevention. Depression, suicide, and mental illness effect many people in today’s society. We want to bring awareness to people that it’s okay to talk about it and to reach out to a family member, friend, or anyone if you are struggling with depression, suicide, or mental illness.”

The cost to participate in the 5k is $35; registration will take place the day of the event. Those attending the barbecue only are asked to give a free will donation. Funds raised by The Green Bandana Project “will go towards setting up a scholarship in Jesse’s name, providing support for speakers to go out and educate the public on the topic of mental illness and suicide, and also have events throughout the year on the topic,” stated Hanson. “The mission of The Green Bandana Project is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, educate people on this topic, and help save lives.”

In addition to the 12 p.m. barbecue catered by Paul Hansel, participants can enjoy inflatable yard and water games throughout the afternoon. The 5k registration fee includes a t-shirt and lunch ticket. T-shirts will also be available for public purchase.

The Green Bandana Project consists of Josh Gratton, President; Norm Economy, Vice President; Jenny Jacobson, Treasurer; Mercedes Stein, Secretary; and board members Paul Skjervheim, Michael Hanson, Grant Ellingson and Luke Schill. It is the hope of The Green Bandana Project that the barbecue and 5k will become an annual event that both celebrates Jesse’s life and brings awareness to mental illness.

The Green Bandana Project will have speakers at the barbecue who will address mental illness and suicide prevention. President Josh Gratton comments, “We lost Jesse…he killed himself on April 30 of this year… If anyone of us would have known how much he was struggling we would have done anything for him. Everyone involved with GBP loved Jesse to no end and wish we could go back to help him. Of course all of us have had the thought, ‘Man I would do anything to have Jesse back, even just for a minute.’ Unfortunately, we can’t go back; Jesse is gone and we have to continue our lives without him. It’s not just that easy but rather a long road of persevering through. He left a hole in our hearts that right now, I don’t see being healed for quite some time. However, we could retreat inward and spend a majority of our time missing Jesse, being sad, becoming depressed ourselves or any of the possible routes that loosing a loved one to suicide can be. All of which in the former are valid and should be dealt with in a healthy way. However, GBP is going to have these events to help prevent future suicides in our area (hopefully in the country but we have to start somewhere). Growing up we are not always taught how to be vulnerable and why it’s important; we aren’t taught that it’s okay in our adult lives to be feeling down, but more importantly, how to deal with intense emotions properly. We aren’t taught what mental illness is, what to do when you are depressed or anxious, and then that it’s okay to get help. Jesse was such a strong person but he carried weight that he should not have tried to carry alone, and sadly, he fell under the weight of his guilt and anxiousness. We want to help others that may be feeling the same way Jesse did and show them that they are not alone, there is a way out, and it’s okay to get help. We don’t want anyone else to go through what we have with loosing Jesse and I think that is our motivator.”

Please wear green and support The Green Bandana Project as we run together toward the goal of suicide prevention. Your life matters!The