Thursday, July 12, 2012

Remembering Jeret 'Speedy' Peterson, Suicide Prevention in Idaho

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Jeret.jpg
  • Courtesy of thespeedyfoundation.org.

Nearly one year ago, on July 25, 2011, Olympic silver medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson took his own life at Lambs Canyon, near Park City, Utah. The turmoil and frustration of Peterson's life had gotten the better of him, and he sadly went down an irreversible path that would change many lives beyond his own.

The Speedy Foundation was formed shortly after Peterson's passing, with the mission of suicide prevention and awareness. The foundation's signature event, the HOPE Golf Tournament, will be held Saturday, July 28, at Banbury Golf Course. Registration is $100 for players and $20 for spectators. Proceeds will go to the foundation and help fund the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.

The foundation is also joining forces with the Red Knights Motorcycle Club for a fundraiser and ride at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, starting and ending at Victor's Hogs and Horns (3110 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell). The ride will leave Caldwell to tour through Marsing and Homedale before returning to Victor's. More information on both events is available at thespeedyfoundation.org.

Peterson's cousin, Shannon Decker, was one of his closest allies and remembers him fondly. She offered the following statement as context for the tournament and other upcoming events in his memory:

I remember every moment I've spent with Jeret. I remember the man who could make me laugh until I peed my pants, and I remember the same man who could frustrate me to no end. I remember carpools to school and tumbling class at BSU. I also remember the Salt Lake, Torino and Vancouver Olympics—the highs and lows that came with each one. One treasured memory that makes me smile was at the National Championships in South Lake Tahoe during college. I needed a break from school so Jeret had me join him for the weekend. We "collaborated" at the year-end party and took home the silver medal in the Ski Team's "Party Poker" Tournament. My first memory of Jeret was when he pushed me on the tire swing at the park until I vomited strawberry milkshake and my last memory is a voicemail of hope and support last July.

The ultimate goal for the Speedy Foundation is to raise awareness, so that no one else has to endure the isolating pain that Jeret felt in life and that his friends and family feel in his absence. The Speedy Foundation is dedicated to understanding mental illness, preventing suicide and fighting its stigma through education, research and advocacy. The ultimate goal for the HOPE Golf Tournament is to fundraise a sizable donation for Idaho's Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Last July, when Jeret took his life, Idaho was the only state in the nation to not have its own suicide prevention hotline with the unique resources specific to Idahoans that citizens in crisis need access to. It is hopeful to see the progress that has been made toward re-establishing a hotline in the past year: a director has been hired, the Legislature has approved funding and various businesses have contributed. We still have a ways to go in finding sustainable funding, but the HOPE Golf Tournament is a start. The Speedy Foundation pledged $10,000 toward establishing a hotline last fall; we are fundraising to try to match or surpass that donation again this summer."

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK.

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