“My husband, Jeff, and I, our family and our friends, will not let Jacob’s story end at the cemetery,” Steuernagel said. “We will tell it again and again to raise suicide awareness, remove the stigma and point the way to hope.”
To this end, the family has founded a nonprofit organization: Jake’s Hope.
Suicide is one of the three leading causes of death among teenagers. Preventing suicide is the singular mission of Jake’s Hope.
With the help of professionals trained in the QPR technique (Question, Persuade, Refer) the Steuernagels, through Jake’s Hope, are speaking to any group in the Chisago County area who will listen about the three-step process for identifying and helping people contemplating suicide.
“We aren’t professionals,” said Deanna Steuernagel, “but, sadly, we have firsthand experience we can share.” Even the Steuernagel’s daughter, Katelyn, 15, is speaking about suicide awareness to younger audiences.
An ice fishing contest seemed like a natural for Jake’s Hope’s first fundraising effort because Jacob and his tackle box were never far apart. Now his fishing buddies and the entire Lindstrom/Center City community are rallying around the event. Clam Outdoors, Eco Jigs, Tips Outdoors and Fish Addictions, local ice fishing vendors, are sending 20 men to drill holes and help orchestrate the day’s activities. Area retailers are supplying prizes such as TV sets, bikes, electronic fishing aids and Nintendo games.
There will be food trucks, warming tents and the promise of fish. All this sounds like a great way to spend a winter day.
So grab your short poles and find an ice fishing contest.
You’ll have another hard-water tale you can share with your uninitiated friends in the Sun Belt. The fishing and the fun are guaranteed. You might not win a pickup truck or an ice auger, but just being on the ice with kindred spirits, knowing you’re supporting a good cause, is a grand prize.
Retired from the workaday world, Bill Klein lives in May Township, just north of St. Paul.