SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Over the weekend, hundreds of people could be seen walking along the road between Tooele and West Wendover, all bonded through unspeakable tragedies. They walked 100 miles in the nation’s longest suicide awareness walk, hosted by a local nonprofit organization called Life’s Worth Living Foundation.
The foundation was founded by Jon Gossett and his wife, Tracy in 2014, after his community in Tooele was devastated by two suicides in one week. Ed and Barbara Hansen’s son, Jed was one of them. They both eventually went on to become the foundation’s vice president and member of the board of directors.
Their three-fold mission is to raise awareness, educate, and prevent suicide. At the time, Gossett said Tooele County ranked 4th in the state for suicide. Since their inception, the county has since dropped to 21st out of 29 counties and the state has dropped from 4th in the nation to 6th. Gossett said the reason why they host their annual walk in April is because suicide rates are the highest in the springtime.
In addition to the country’s longest suicide awareness walk, the Life’s Worth Living Foundation and its partners have unveiled the first monument in the nation dedicated to solving the problem of veteran suicide. They also host a monthly support group at the hospital for those who are struggling, host a podcast called Life’s Worth Living, award scholarships, work with legislators to keep this in the forefront of their minds, and help with burial expenses when needed.
Jon Gossett, Tracy Gossett, Ed Hansen, and Barbara Hansen joined ABC4’s Nick McGurk for an IN FOCUS discussion about their foundation, their recent suicide awareness walk, and their messages to the community and anyone who’s struggling.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with the Gossetts and the Hansens, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.