“Blessed are those who mourn, for you will be comforted..” ~Matthew 5:4

Our best friend John Hammond died by suicide five years ago on All Saints’ Day (November 1, 2017). John was survived by four beautiful kids, a loving wife, and beloved family and friends beyond measure. John was kind, loving, joyful, generous with everyone. His smile lit up every room he entered; he always had time for you, whether you were a lifelong friend or someone he just met. John was that friend who could find joy everywhere. You’d climb into his Mustang convertible and head out on any given day – knowing the day was full of promise. The song “For Forever” from the musical Dear Evan Hansen captures the feeling beautifully.

“All we see is sky for forever

We let the world pass by for forever

Feels like we could go on for forever this way

Two friends on a perfect day…”

John was struggling mightily when he died. Eventually, the pain became intolerable. We gathered the following week to celebrate his life – heartbroken, gutted, asking so many questions. As we struggled to make any sense of it, Kent reminded us in his homily of one important truth: if love alone could have kept John alive, he would still be here.

Over a million Americans attempt to end their life each year. They are all in pain. They need us – all of us – to do what we can to build a different future. Joining this ride means the world to us. To share John’s story with other riders and all the supporters of this incredible event helps us transform our grief into hope, our heartbreak into help for others.

On Friday we will ride together with our new LTR friends into New Orleans – our hometown. We will be met by family and friends in Audubon Park – the place all four of us forged our friendship, playing soccer together. It will be a powerful celebration of remembrance and renewal. It will also be a celebration of new beginnings, as we join this movement to build a future free of depression and suicide. Please join in wishing us #Godspeed.

We #Ride4 John Hammond and for everyone in darkness.

Submitted by Kent Marcoux, Peter Conway and Robert Schumacher