Iowa Man Uses Christmas Display For Suicide Prevention Awareness
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, help is available. The Crisis Hotline number is 988.
Suicide is a sad and very scary situation, that no one wants to find themselves in. Family members and friends of suicide victims can go the rest of their lives feeling guilty wondering what they could've done differently. That answer isn't simple for anyone who's been through a tragedy like this. This Iowa man is trying to make difference. Gary Honn from Fairfax, Iowa, sadly lost his brother-in-law to suicide and is now trying his best to turn a terrible situation, into a way to help others.
According to KCRG, Gary Honn has been setting up his Christmas displays for over 10 years. In the past 4 years, he's included animated lights, which are synched up to music. It's a pretty big display that takes a lot of time to set up. Gary told KCRG,
We have roughly 40,000 lights. It takes about a month to set up.
For the past 2 years, this display has meant just a little bit more than a love of the holidays. Last year Gary wanted to use his incredible display to help raise awareness and money for suicide prevention. Once suicide impacted Gary's life directly, he wanted to make sure to try and prevent it from happening to anyone else. He told KCRG,
Suicide has impacted my life so once that happened I kind of realized there’s a lot more people in need.
The proceeds raised from Driftwood Lights will all go towards HOPEwalk, located in Cedar Rapids. HOPEwalk walks every September to raise awareness for Suicide prevention. Last year, Gary was able to raise $615 dollars and his hope this year is to reach $1,000. Every donation that Gary receives comes from free will.
Driftwood Lights is currently on display at 175 Driftwood Lane in Fairfax and if you're driving down Driftwood Lane, you can't miss it. The display will be up until January 8th. You can catch a preview of the amazing lighting display in this video from the Driftwood Lights Facebook Page. Imagine being able to enjoy that live and in person!
Putting up a Christmas light display started out as a hobby for Gary. It was a way for him to spread Christmas joy to his community. Now, he's hoping it can help save people's lives.
The endless reach depression, mental health, and suicide have on Iowa and the rest of the world is scary to think about. Iowa alone lost 541 people to suicide last year, according to KCRG. That's 541 too many.