VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - This weekend thousands will gather in Virginia Beach for a walk aimed at bringing awareness and education about the signs of suicide to the community. The Out of the Darkness walk is a community event, but the military will be a big part of it.
10 On Your Side spoke with two of the walk's organizers, one who's Navy husband took his own life. Master Chief David Ellingson met his wife Lou-Ann when they were stationed in Iceland.
"In Iceland there's like six feet of snow everywhere, and if you step into it, you can just disappear, and he dug me out of a hole one day," Lou-Ann said.
He carried her for several blocks and walked away with her heart. She felt his love and protection even in his last words.
"We sat down, turned on a movie -- it was a Robert Dinero movie, don't know the name of it -- and he turned to me and said 'you know I would never hurt you?'" Ellingson said.
10 minutes later he walked upstairs and ended his life.
"And just like that I found him in the bathroom, and he had shot himself," she said.
In hindsight, Ellingson said there were signs.
"He had cleaned out his locker at work, he had done all the Christmas shopping and they were all hidden up in our office underneath the couch," Ellingson said.
He had bought an angel for each member of the family.
Lou-Ann needed to understand why and how she missed the signs. She got involved with the Out of The Darkness Walk and Survivors of Suicide Support Group headed by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Chris Gilchrist.
"We want to counter the silence and the shame that has surrounded mental illness and suicide," Glichrist said.
Gilchrist coordinates an army of educators for the event and they are saving lives. A military officer who attended one walk intervened and saved a co-worker.
Gilchrist said they are working to redefine depression among the ranks as a disease not a weakness.
"My husband, if he were able to talk to us today, he would probably say that's what he thought, he thought the way he was feeling was weak and he was never anything but strong," said Ellingson.
A fighter without the right weapons, he lost his battle, but there is treatment and with it, hope for others.
The Out of the Darkness Community walk will be held this coming Saturday morning at Mt Trashmore in Virginia Beach. WAVY's Tom Schaad will emcee the event.
You can register at the event's website.
After giving money to a landowner for a new construction project, VDOT says the amount it paid wasn't right. They are now asking a Virginia Beach couple to cough up $160,000.
Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe spent part of Wednesday in Hampton Roads, talking about the future of the region.
A man is facing attempted abduction charges after police said he tried to grab two juvenile girls and exposed himself.