Five Pleasant Hill High School alumni were honored at the R-3 District’s first Hall of Honor induction held at an all-school reunion at the senior high over the weekend. Inducted into the Hall of Honor were the late farmer and dairyman Boone Ingles, Jr. (Class of 1936), the late teacher and community leader Dorothy Burbridge (Class of 1942), the late teacher and speech/hearing clinician Monelle (Armstrong) Gustin Ament (Class of 1923), motivational speaker Fred H. Pryor (Class of 1952) and former insurance agent and developer Richard Jones (Class of 1949). Pictured (front row-from left) are Pryor’s brother and sister, Tom Pryor and Diane Bashor, Gustin Ament’s granddaughter Denice Robinson, Ingles’ son, Richard Ingles; Dorothy Burbridge’s friend and former employee Bill Wendel; (top row from left) Richard Jones; Pryor’s sister-in-law, Carol Pryor; and Gustin Ament’s daughter, Joan Mitchell, and son Jerry Gustin. The Hall of Honor was created in 2012-13 to honor PHHS alumni who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments and brought credit to Pleasant Hill schools.
Moms stage march for suicide prevention
By BETTY BEASON
Times Staff Writer ...Julie Crantz and Farrah Otis have not always been friends, but the need to cope with family tragedies have created a solid bond between the two young mothers. ...Julie’s 17-year-old son Cameron Steven ended his life on October 24, 2014. ...Farrah lost her son, Joshua, to suicide on June 16, 2014. ...Together, the two mothers organized a “March and Gathering” to honor their sons and others who have been affected by suicide. ...The march was held last Tuesday, June 16, on the anniversary of Joshua’s death. The mothers asked those who attended to wear yellow and bring a sign. ...Julie and Farrah are working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to get a program implemented in the area schools. ...“We believe public awareness and being willing to talk about suicide is an important step toward preventiing suicide,” Farrah says. ...They believe a suicide prevention program would encourage students, teachers and administrators to be more aware of the signs of youth who are “reaching out” for someone to be a listener, offer an encouraging word, or in some small way take an action which would cause the person to rethink his/her desire to take a life. ...Julie was devastated by her son’s choice and did a lot of soul searching into what she might done to have changed his decision. ...Filled with sadness and no adequate answers to help her understand, she turned to positive action that has given her some comfort. ...Cameron loved people. In fact, in the eyes of his friends, Cameron was “McLovin,” a popular hero in the movie Superbad. ...She feels good that Cameron was able to help save the lives of many people after his death. Working with the Midwest Transplant Network, a 15-year-old male from the Midwest was able to be taken off a ventilator and have a new lease on life with Cameron’s heart. ...His lungs gave new hope to a 63-year-old male from the Southwest. His liver and left kidney were transplanted into a 62-year-old female who is recovering from the surgery and looking forward to enjoying her family including a newly expected grandbaby. ...The recipient of his right kidney is a 20-year-old who lives in the Midwest. ...His intestine was transplanted into a 58-year-old female who lives on the East Coast. The surgery is rare and only the fourth to be done this year. ...In addition to these life-saving gifts, Cameron was also able to enhance the lives of others through the gifts of tissue donation, bone, bone marrow and skin veins. He was also able to give the gift of sight to two people through cornea donations. ...Cameron took pride in being a good friend, trusting people and earning their respect. ...Julie feels her son would have approved of allowing individuals who were struggling to overcome health issues. ...After her son’s death, Farrah and her family organized Team Joshua that led the “Out of the Darkness Walk” at Berkley Riverfront Park in Kansas City last October. ...She joined with Julie in planning the awareness walk in Pleasant Hill last week. ...Farrah has learned through her association with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that efforts to prevent suicide are dependent on understanding why the suicide occurs. ...She now knows it is difficult to read the signals and to react in a timely, effective manner to prevent the loved one’s determination “to end it all.” ...In his final hours, Joshua had written a lengthy memoir for his mother. He wrote about the “monsters, the inability to put on a face on evil, and the Devil is beautiful.” ...She acknowledges that she cannot turn back the pages, but is dedicated to being proactive in saving other lives. ...Farrah has learned that ages 12-22 are the most fragile times because youngsters that age do not turn to parents for solutions to what’s troubling them. In order for adults to lead the way in precenting suicide, they have to be educated. ...Joshua’s 14-year-old sister, Jaimie, has found comfort from her involvement in the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program (www.yellowribbon.org). ...This grass-roots, community based volunteer organization has been developed to serve youth and the communities that surround them. Attention is directed to youth and teen suicide and emphasis is placed on public awareness, education and training to help communities build new programs and work with existing programs. ...Jaimie says she tries to be a “good friend and listener” when she talks to friends who are feeling depressed and overwhelmed by what life is dealing them. ...“I never say, ‘I know how you feel,’” she says, “but I do let them know I always have time to listen.” ...She is also believes in the effectiveness of hugs. They show compassion and can change a mood. ...Jaimie’s rule of thumb is when hugging someone, always be the last to let go because you never now how much they need your hug. ...Farrah, Jaimie and Julie are dealing with their sadness from losing their loved ones. They just hope their efforts to increase awareness will save other lives. ...They understand that it’s a cliche to say, “It takes a village.” but believe the entire community must embrace the desire to save lives. Taking time to listen or to give a hug are simple gestures that can be extremely helpful. ...“Take the time to be the listener.” they say.