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New Prague Alumni Making a Difference, Raising Awareness

Six men, all alumni of New Prague High School, are committed to saving lives because of the tragic loss of one. Catalyzed by the suicide of their good friend, this group, The Duck Cup Memorial Committee, has been working for four years to bring awareness to the issue of mental illness and suicide prevention to our schools and community.

New Prague Alumni Making a Difference, Raising Awareness"What would we have done differently to prevent our friend's suicide?" asked Dave Hruby, one of the group's members. "We struggled with that question for a long time. We just knew that we didn't want another group of friends to have to go through what we did. We had to do something."

What they have done is raise over $50,000 through a memorial golf tournament to provide speakers for local schools and communities for the past four years. The people they bring in speak to everyone - parents, teachers, students, community members - on how to recognize and prevent suicide and erase the stigma of mental illness.

"There is such a great need for more education and awareness of these topics," said Hruby. "Mental illness is so far reaching. We are happy that we can provide resources but saddened by how much our organization is needed."

This year's speaker is David Romano. A proud native Minnesotan, Romano is committed to letting others know that it isn't a weakness to ask for help with mental health issues. He empowers audiences to embrace who they are and support each other in eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness by sharing his own mental health narrative. He is dedicated to fighting mental health stigma and engaging with communities around the country to change the conversation about mental health.

Everyone is invited to attend this free presentation on Sunday, February 11 at 6 pm in the New Prague High School auditorium.

"I hope everyone will join us," said Hruby. "Even if you don't know anyone who suffers from mental illness, chances are you will at some point. It's important that we educate ourselves and work together to make a difference where we can."

This Mental Health Presentation is sponsored by the Duck Cup Memorial Committee: Bryan Connelly, Dave Hruby, Eric Ceplecha, Brian Jindra, Jon Frykmann and Nick Deutsch.