Dan Bielenberg – Oregon Chapter Board Member
I choose to work in the business of changing the lives of people, I work for the Oregon Department of Corrections. In 2016 I was working one on one with George who had asked me a lot of questions about AFSP. I had attended the Salem walk earlier and was looking AFSP information up online for George. Watching a video, George broke down crying and told me his story of loosing his Dad to Suicide when he was little. George said, “when I get out I want to help AFSP”. My response was, “why wait”?
We contacted Ryan Price who graciously came to a meeting in my office inside of Santiam Correctional Institution. George, Ryan, and I met and that’s when I learned that no prison in the United States had even hosted an Out of the Darkness Walk. I was in complete disbelief!!! This seemed so simple, so important, how could we miss the incarcerated in our efforts???
In May of 2017 we hosted our first walk at SCI raising over $3000 in a Staff vs. Adults in Custody fundraising challenge. The staff lost! We quickly challenged the other prisons in Oregon and this year six of the 14 prisons in Oregon have hosted walks. 1700 participants raising over $17,000 for AFSP all from either staff or the incarcerated and their families!!! Did I say all of this in 2019?
I made the decision to join the AFSP Oregon Chapter board to continue advance their mission of Saving lives and offering hope to those affected by suicide.
I choose to work in the business of changing the lives of people, I work for the Oregon Department of Corrections. While our address and circumstances may be unique, our hearts are filled every day that we can make a difference in the lives of the people around us. “Making today better than yesterday, making tomorrow better than today”.