Suicides from the Aurora Bridge are a mental health and public safety issue.
Ryan Thurston is the founder of Seattle FRIENDS, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating suicides from the Aurora Bridge. He previously worked as a senior design engineer for a semiconductor company located near the bridge. He graduated with an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a bachelors degree in Computer Engineering with distinction from the University of Washington.
He has personally witnessed the tragic aftermath of many suicides from the bridge.
Sue Eastgard is the director of the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program. She also served as the executive director for the Seattle-King County Crisis Clinic for 3˝ years and prior to that, spent over a decade providing outpatient mental health services to acutely and chronically mentally ill children and adults. She is the immediate past-President of the American Association of Suicidology and served as the program chair for the 1997 national "Healing After Suicide" conference. She holds a masters degree in social work from the University of Washington.
Michael Jerrett is the past executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. Michael helps strengthen the climate and improve the quality of life in the Fremont area by building relationships and networking with all members of the community.
Rachel Izzo moved to Seattle in August 2004 and is a senior at Holy Names Academy. Rachel lives in Laurelhurst, and enjoys playing soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, volunteering, and hanging out with friends.
On May 6, 2006, Rachel's soccer teammate and friend became the youngest victim to die by suicide on the Aurora Bridge.
Mary Lou Dickerson serves as the State Representative for the 36th district which includes many of Seattle’s friendliest neighborhoods: Fremont, Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne. Rep. Dickerson is a member of the Washington State House Transportation Committee which considers the transportation budget, revenue sources for transportation funding, and issues relating to transportation policy and transportation agencies, including the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Washington State Patrol.
Gemma Daggatt enjoys life on the water with her husband and young children; the Aurora Bridge is in their "backyard". She provides pro-bono consulting services as a community builder and project manager. Gemma wants to help make the Aurora Bridge neighborhood as livable as possible: 1. by taking away deathly temptation from those who are desperate; 2. by increasing the safety and peace of mind for all of those who live in the vibrant, dense urban landscape under and around the Aurora Bridge.
Ed Murray serves as the State Senator for the 43rd district which includes many of Seattle’s friendliest neighborhoods: Fremont, Wallingford, Ravenna and Madison Park. Senator Murray is the Vice Chair of the Washington State Senate Transportation Committee which considers the transportation budget, revenue sources for transportation funding, and issues relating to transportation policy and transportation agencies, including the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Washington State Patrol.
Joni Kelly is the Community Relations Manager for the Glendon Mental Health Association. She currently serves as a member of the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge Suicide Barrier Committee. The committee has been working with many agencies in the Santa Barbara, CA area to identify suicide prevention strategies and was recently allocated $1M toward the design and construction of a suicide barrier on the bridge.
Rachel Minnery is a LEED accredited architect and project manager with Mithun, Inc. in Seattle, a national leader in sustainable design. Rachel’s work in disaster preparedness and mitigation began with her college thesis at Ball State University, and continues through today with her service on AIA Seattle's Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee, which she has chaired for the past 6 years. Following Hurricane Katrina, Rachel orchestrated a coordinated volunteer effort to perform building damage assessments in Mississippi.
After the Southeast Asian tsunami, Rachel co-founded and currently chairs the Board of the Seattle Chapter of Architects Without Borders, a volunteer-led organization dedicated to providing architectural and planning services to communities in need. In 2006, Rachel was the recipient of AIA Seattle's Community Service Award.
Laurie Herber is the founder of the Seattle Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She organized one of the areas first "Out of the Darkness" walks, a campaign to raise suicide awareness and funds toward suicide prevention. Laurie splits her time between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.
Marc Pevoto is a partner at Johnston Architects PLLC, a design firm located near the Aurora Bridge in Seattle. Marc has been involved in the design and construction of numerous local projects, and feels strongly that successful architecture is capable of elevating people’s lives. Marc’s association with Seattle FRIENDS is a result of his nascent involvement with the Seattle Chapter of Architects Without Borders. Marc’s interest in the suicide barrier is two-fold: over the years Marc has known a staggering number of people who have sadly taken their own lives, and hopes that his involvement, in whatever capacity with this much-needed project, can contribute to saving the life of someone in despair. Marc also believes that a well-designed barrier can function on two levels; elimination of suicides first and foremost, as well as making a visually pleasing architectural statement.
Jan Drago has been a member of the Seattle City Council since January 1994, following her election in November 1993. Prior to her election, she had been a small business owner (Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Shoppes franchise owner, (1980-1991) and a school teacher (1973-1978). She is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University (B.A., Psychology). She and her husband Noel are the parents of four sons and two grandsons.
Marko Tubic is President of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, and heads the Edward Jones Investment office in Fremont. Marko’s position entails three themes: 1) being a connected voice for the business community of Fremont, 2) expanding and continuing the cooperative working relationships with other Fremont groups and community agencies and 3) respecting each individual’s views and utilizing these talents to further develop the Fremont business community.
Larry Phillips serves as the King County Councilmember for the 4th district. Larry was instrumental in providing support for the Seattle FRIENDS nonprofit organization during the early stages of operations and development.