ST.CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – An exclamation point emphasizes strong emotion. A question mark expresses uncertainty. A period marks the end of a sentence. But a semicolon means there is more to come.  

It’s used in a sentence when the sentence is not over. 

April 16th is World Semicolon Day. 

Sandy Williams lost her father Jerry to suicide almost exactly 12 years ago and says that this day is all about spreading hope and letting people know that even when you struggle, it does not have to be the end. 

”There’s always more. So just put a semicolon there. Don’t put a period. Put a semicolon and know that your story continues.”

Sandy Williams – President/Founder of Jerry’s Walk – Illuminating Suicide Awareness

Jerry Williams was a beloved member of the Ohio Valley. Being a Kroger executive, he was always in commercials, in parades throughout the community, and impacting the lives of many. 

That’s why Sandy says it was shocking to hear that he died of suicide just two days before his 75th birthday. 

”He was a success by any measure. We didn’t. You know, that’s why our family had such a struggle. It’s like, how could this happen? But it happens to everybody just, you know, suicide doesn’t discriminate. In fact, the highest rate of suicide in Ohio is among men over the age of 75. But, you know, that’s just not talked about.”

Sandy Williams – President/Founder of Jerry’s Walk – Illuminating Suicide Awareness

In his honor, Sandy and Jerry’s family have created Jerry’s Walk – Illuminating Suicide Awareness – a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention and education. 

Just as a lighthouse does, they shine a light on the fact that suicide is the outcome of a disease and not wrongdoing. 

This year is the 7th Annual Suicide Awareness Walk in St. Clairsville, and all proceeds will be used for programs in the Ohio Valley. 

”The positive part of it is every year we get more people who are there to support people who are struggling with suicidal ideation and that’s what’s important. More people in the community who want to come out and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been touched by suicide.’ And I think that’s important because suicide has always been in the shadows. People don’t want to talk about it. And when something’s taboo, we can’t solve it.”

Sandy Williams – President/Founder of Jerry’s Walk – Illuminating Suicide Awareness

Project Semicolon and organizations like Jerry’s Walk are working to tell the stories of those lost to suicide to show others that their sentence does not have to end with a period and there is more to life just past the semicolon.