People are invited to join the HEARTBEAT Balloon Launch and the Out of Darkness Community Walk on Sept. 15.
The sixth annual balloon launch for suicide victims starts at 8:30 a.m. at Eagle Town Park.
The Eagle Valley community walk is 3 to 5 miles, beginning at Eagle Town Park at 9 a.m. and ending there at approximately 11 a.m.
This is the first walk of its kind in the area. The fund-raising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) by helping to support local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs.
The Eagle Valley Out of the Darkness Walk is one of nearly 250 Out of the Darkness Community Walks being held this fall nationwide. The walks are expected to unite more than 100,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $7.5 million for suicide prevention efforts.
"Much more needs to be done to prevent suicide. Yet, suicide and the underlying mental disorders that can sometimes lead to suicide continue to be surrounded by misinformation and stigma," said Erin Ivie, an organizer of the Eagle event. "This walk is about reducing that stigma, raising awareness and raising needed funds for research and local prevention programs."
It is estimated that close to 1 million Americans make a suicide attempt, more than 36,000 die by suicide, and more than 20 million suffer from depression each year.
"Every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide in the U.S," said Robert Gebbia, Executive Director for AFSP. "This fall, thousands will be walking to raise money for prevention and awareness, and offer hope to the millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide or who battle personally with depression, bipolar illness, addiction and other mental illnesses".
Local sponsors for the Eagle Valley Out of the Darkness Community Walk include: Peaks of Excellence, Samaritan Counseling Center, US Bank, First Bank of Vail, Eagle Ranch Association, Eagle Sinclair, Archibeque Land Consulting Ltd. and Mountain Pedaler of Vail.
The leaves are already beginning to change colors in Colorado's high country.
Seeing the changing autumn leaves is a long-standing Colorado tradition that generally takes place mid-September to mid-October each year. AAA Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife want to let people know where to drive and how to drive safely for some of the best views this season.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a website devoted entirely to Colorado's fall colors (www.parks.state.co.us/Pages/Fall.aspx) with information about where and when fall colors are blooming, where to stay overnight, where to drive near the fall foliage for the very best views. Take a look at the "Rush to the Gold/Fall Colors" brochure on that page and learn about eight recommended car trips in Colorado to see the splendor of fall.
CDOT's Scenic and Historic Byways are also excellent routes for Coloradans and visitors alike to see the state. For more information about Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways program, including a map, visit www.coloradodot.info/travel/scenic-byways.
Finally, AAA Colorado has identified routes that provide exceptional autumn drives including:
• Independence Pass, accessible via State Highway 82 and US 24 near Twin Lakes and Aspen
• Crystal River Valley, accessible via State Highway 133 south of Carbondale
• McClure Pass and Kebler Pass, accessible via State Highway 133 south of Marble
• Aspen Ridge and Salida, accessible via US 285 in Chaffee County
• Cripple Creek, accessible via US 24 at State Highway 67 from Colorado Springs
CDOT recommends a few safety tips for motorists as they are driving:
• If you are planning to take photos, pull completely off the highway into the right-of-way and turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can better see you.
• Don't forget to focus on your driving and try not to be distracted by the beauty surrounding you. Switching drivers is a great way to allow everyone to see the leaves and to keep drivers focused on the task at hand.
• Be sure you and your passengers buckle up.
• Be aware during dusk and twilight hours that wildlife is more likely to be on the road, and be sure to stay alert.
• If you become tired, take a break and use the AAA Mobile app on your iPhone or Android to check out local discounts offered in the area around you.
CDOT would love to see any photos motorists take of the beauty that exists along our state highways. Photos can be shared on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.
- Special to the Enterprise