Twenty years after the tragic suicide of their son Michael, Dale and Dar Emme are still working to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else. Last week, the Board of Education honored the Emme’s for their tireless efforts in suicide prevention.
The second week in September is also National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week across the country, making the recognition especially timely.
Michael was a junior at Westminster High School in September of 1994 when he took his life. In a note to his parents he wrote, “Don’t blame yourselves, Mom and Dad, I love you.”
“I was at Westminster High School when Mike died,” said School Board President Ruben Pacheco. “I remember how tough that day was for the community. The strength that you have brought to this issue is a model for the rest of the country and the rest of the world.”
Almost immediately after Michael’s death, his parents began the Yellow Ribbon Campaign to provide resources for suicide prevention and training. District 50 partnered with the Emmes by providing them office space to do their important work. The Yellow Ribbon Campaign now has chapters around the world.
The Emmes praised District 50 for stepping up to help them with their campaign, saying that many districts were afraid to acknowledge and talk about the issue of suicide. “Thank you so much for everything,” said Dar, “We had no idea what a gift we had in the midst the worst nightmare of our lives.”
Vice President Dino Valente also thanked the Emmes for their commitment, “I don’t know if you realize just how many people you have helped with your selfless work,” he said.