MOUNT VERNON — The week of Sept. 10-16 is National Suicide Prevention Week. The Knox County Suicide Prevention Coalition invites the public to take part in its 7th Annual 5-K Walk/Run, Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Kokosing Gap Trail, Kenyon Campus. Kickoff time is 9 a.m. Registration starts at 8.

As a coalition, the mission is to make the public aware of the circumstances surrounding suicide and save lives; e.g., how to recognize symptoms leading to suicide, knowing what to say and how to help, and resources available for help. The 5-K walk/run is an opportunity to bring about this awareness. The coalition is a nonprofit organization advocating for the prevention of suicide, inspiring hope, and saving lives through education, support and advocacy.

Early Bird registration with a free T-shirt for the event can be made online at Eventbrite or by contacting Kathy Wantland at 740-397-5588 or Dodie Melvin at 740-397-3088.

All funds raised from the 5k are used to provide education and support through public and school/college workshops, a grief support group for survivors facilitated by Wantland once a month at Hospice, and a Local Outreach to Survivors (L.O.S.S.) Team. For more information regarding the latter, contact Wantland.

Memory Dinner

Additional Coalition activities for the week will include a SOS: Survivor of Suicide Memory Dinner to be held Thursday, Sept. 14, at 5:30 p.m., at the Knox County Career Center River Room. This event is by registration only and will feature a dinner, speakers and closing with the traditional memorial tribute to loved ones lost. Keynote speakers for this year’s event will be the Rev. Mark Wildermuth, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, and his good friend Kelly O’Reilly who will offer a different twist to the emotions surrounding a death by suicide.

In Pastor Windermuth’s words: “The issue of suicide awareness and prevention are of concern to me because it points to a loss of hope and purpose in someone’s life. The impact of sudden death and suicide in particular leaves many ripples of consequence in the lives of those who knew and cared about the individual, and the grief is compounded by feelings of guilt.”

To register, call Melvin at 740-397-3088 or send an email to



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