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Due to numerous comments, I'd like to take a moment and highlight one of my recent Fire Engineering mag illustrations.

The illustration in question tackles the topic of firefighter suicide and the fact that we can't always see the underlying problems that lead to this shattering conclusion. This topic had been eating away at me for over a year before settling on a visual commentary. In 2008, my Department went through such an ordeal when one of our officers, and a personal mentor, committed suicide. We knew his personal life was not the greatest, but no one had an inkling that he was thinking of suicide. And to this day, to my knowledge, no one knows why he decided to end his life.

The point being this, now that we look back at the months leading to his suicide, we see markers and signs that may have been cries for help. But he was a private man who would not have openly discussed these matters. Perhaps if we would have listened better, or pried a little harder into his personal feelings, we could have changed the end result. We will unfortunately never know.

As an illustrator, my feelings and thoughts are expressed through art. Perhaps in some small way, creating this editorial illustration may help one of you take a long look at a Brother or Sister. Listen, be there, help if you can - unfortunately, as the illustration suggest, the signs aren't always so obvious.

Rest in peace Roger! You are missed!

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Comment by James Cleveland on September 2, 2009 at 11:05am
Brother I have to tell you that this one hits close to home. I had a freind many years ago who committed suicide. I like to think of his as a job related death as he had been involved in many really bad incidents leading up to it. Like many in the fire service he was quite and tight lipped and had no outlet for his pain. I named my youngest son after him to honor his memory but all those who knew him will forever deal with the pain.

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