Jeff Price isn’t one to come out and tell you how tough he is. Get into a conversation with him and he might eventually mention that he wrestled collegiately at the highest level, in the Big 10 conference at Purdue. He lacks a booming voice, and having wrestled at the 125-weight class for the Boilermakers he’s not exactly intimidating in stature.
Make no mistake, though. The guy knows tough.
Price volunteers a great deal of his personal time, week-in and week-out, to talk with suicidal members of the military on a statewide helpline. The military has seen a great rise in suicide rates in the past several years and it is has become fact that veterans take their lives at a more frequent rate than that of the general population.
“It’s certainly a major issue,” Price told Metro. “All of the armed services, from the top level on down, have put a lot of attention toward it but I’m still not sure the general public is aware [of how big of an issue it is]. Yeah, there’s a general idea out there that many folks coming back from overseas that are experiencing lasting trauma and have mental health burdens, but we really want to get the world out even more.”
Price, the program manager for the joint precision airdrop system at Hanscom Air Force Base, will run Monday’s Boston Marathon as a part of the Samaritans Marathon Team. It will be Price’s first time running a length of this distance (26.2 miles). In fact, the first time he ran a distance anywhere close to that was three weekends ago at 21 miles.
“I’ve been told that running these distances is all about mental toughness,” Price said. “I did 21 miles in three-and-a-half hours, about a 10 minute mile. Those last few miles were really, really tough but talking to folks about running this race – they’ll tell you that your adrenaline on the day of the race with the crowds cheering you on is what gets you through those last few miles.”
Price will not only have the full support of the hundreds of thousands of fans lined from Hopkinton to downtown Boston but he’ll also be running alongside 13 familiar faces as a member of the Samaritan Marathon Team. Volunteering has long been a practice of Price.
“I had been a volunteer firefighter, and when I moved here (from Ohio), I was looking for volunteer opportunities and that’s when I found Samaritans,” Price said of the work that’s changed his outlook on many things in life. “Once you speak with people in crisis and get to know their history, this matter becomes a little more dear.
“Every year far too many people from all walks of life choose to take their own life. People of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicities; professing all religions and creeds; from the young professional seeming to have everything going for them to the most disadvantaged and destitute; too many have felt they had no choice other than suicide.”
Each runner for the Samaritan team is looking to raise $11,000. To learn more or make a donation toward Jeff’s goal, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/SamaritansBoston2016
The Samaritans Statewide Toll Free Helpline is 877-870-HOPE.