Each year, 44,965 Americans commit suicide – that equates to 123 suicides per day – and men do it 3.57 times more often. For many family and friends, they never knew there was a problem. For one local family, this sad statistic hit home when Alex O’Dell.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that something doesn’t happen I would want to tell him about,” said Jessica Jendersee, fiancé of O’Dell and mother to his children. “I would tell him I’m not going to let him down and I will raise our babies in the best way I know how. And, it didn’t have to be this way.”
“I would have moved mountains for you and you had an unimaginable amount of support. And that I love you and I hope you’re ok up there and I can’t wait to see you again when it’s my time.”
Jessica and Alex used to take cruises together in his 2001 Ford Mustang V8. As an engagement ring, Alex purchased her uncle’s ’89 Fox Body Cobra.
“His favorite saying was ‘I don’t like to go fast, I like to go sideways’,” Jendersee said. “I had always wanted that car and as soon as I mentioned it, he asked how much [my uncle] wanted for it.”
Of course, she still has the car. She has a legacy to nurture through her and Alex’s children, a culture to get them into and a few Mustangs to show them.
Two local groups rallied to cruise for a cause. On Feb. 3, 2018, the PNW Coupes and Sedans (PNWCS) and Stangpede Washington clubs held a cruise and car show at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God church in Darrington, Wash.
“I would like to say thank you very much for coming and it was amazing to see all of us come together for him,” Jendersee said. “I just wish he’d of realized all the love and support he would of had before he took his life.”
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There were around 250 people attending throughout the day, with many starting a cruise from the Safeway in Arlington.
There were plenty of people there who didn’t know O’Dell. According to Thomas Owens, founder of PNWCS, the show was about showing support for the family from the car scene. That it wasn’t about just the Mustang scene coming out, but the local community – all types of people and all types of cars showing support for those in their time of need.
Besides local groups, there are plenty of resources for those considering suicide. There is ALWAYS another way out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK  ) and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are two nation-wide organizations that can help. There is hope.
Special reporting by Thomas Owens, PNW Coupes & Sedans. Photos courtesy of Tony DeLapp.