Our Foundation was born in Milford, CT in the summer of 2019. We will hopefully have a direct impact on all of our community. And here is how...
We want to fight the battle against Depression and Suicide through MUSIC.
Tragically, my family lost my 22 year old brother Alexander Jordan Jamieson to Suicide on May 1st, 2019. Alex had battled depression throughout his life. Alex grew up in Milford, Connecticut and he attended Milford public schools. He loved skating around town and at the local skate park, practicing his guitar, writing music, meeting new people, hanging out at the local mall and a lot of the other small things in life. He received treatment at Bridges and through other resources available in the community throughout his life. He was aware of his depression and did his best to stand and fight against it.
Alex had always said he did not have very many friends. Some part of his depression made him feel that way. At times he knew this to not be the truth. But most of the time, his depression prevented him from seeing what he had: Family, friends, talent, worth! He could “see” none of it at times. Alex was an amazing guitarist and vocalist in his local band. He even got to play his dreams out and perform on the stage at Toad's Place a few times. He recently wrote a few songs that had the makings to be hit mainstream songs, something he would have hated of course ha-ha. Alex was also a skateboarder with some impressive talent. He spent many hours at the skate park in Milford. I have heard many stories of Alex helping other skaters, some much younger, learn new tricks or master old ones while at the park. Alex always tried to friend the kids that no one else paid attention to and make them feel better about themselves. He was a caring soul.
I received a phone call the day of Alex’s service from one of his friends. The friend told me they were expecting close to a thousand people at the service. I was stunned and thought how; he said he had no friends.. We had planned for an average service, thinking we might see 100 or so faces between friends and family. Well, the friend that called was right. A line developed out the back of the funeral home and extended down the Milford Green from about 4:45 pm until almost 8:30pm. This night was the beginning of the inspirational events that has led to the development of our foundation.
The night of Alex’s service, someone posted on social media, “Is there a concert or something on the green tonight?” This was of course because of the attire of friends who were waiting in this incredible line to pay respects to their friend, their brother. They came dressed as the family requested, “How Alex would want you to.” It was a sea of Green Day and other bands shirts. I realized something as I stood and hugged each person after they said their goodbye. I asked each of them how they had met my brother. So many of them said similar things, “How do I get through this without him to help me through” and “Alex was always there for me, who is gonna help me through this”. They also told me countless stories of Alex helping them through their own tragedies, no matter how big or small, when no one else was their friend. And they told me how they tried to help him. So many therapists and teachers, counselors and peers said the same: that he was kind, that they had witnessed him helping others, that he was the “nicest kid in the punk scene”, and that they wished they could have done more. And that is when I realized we can’t let Alex’s mission end with his passing. Clearly Alex wanted to help others like him, so that is what we need to continue to do.
So, we have started a foundation in Alexander Jordan Jamieson’s name. To fight depression through music. Our goal is to raise funds, acquire instruments through donations, and provide instruments and musical lessons to children in the community that would otherwise not have access to them, in particular, children that are at risk for or known to be battling depression and other emotional health battles. This is going to start in the community of Milford and hopefully grow from there. We have incredible support already; we have spoken with the Milford Board of Education, Mayor Blake of Milford, Senator Maroney, the Milford Recreation Department, various local bands such as The Navels and Mystic Seahorse, and other key players that can help this cause grow. Our invitations to discuss Alex, depression, and our foundation on the local TV and radio stations are amazing opportunities that we are grateful to have as our message will reach even more of our neighbors. We have established as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity and were approved as of September 6, 2019. We are registered with the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection as well.
Milford Parks and Recreation commission has voted unanimously to rename the Milford Skate Park after Alex: The Alexander Jordan Jamieson Memorial Skate Park. This was the result of a Change.Org petition one of his friends started that quickly grew to 3,000+ signatures. It was also the result of years of volunteering and participation in recreation and other community events by my parents, Debbie & Gerard Jamieson of Milford, and all of our family. But we had one request: to make the dedication and the Skate Park about not only Alex, but about suicide prevention, and to make it about the battle against depression that is plaguing our society. We will have signage with the 24/7 suicide hotline phone number. We also want to use this as an opportunity to encourage those that use the park to keep the activities and graffiti family friendly, to remind them that this is their park - the skateboarders - to come and enjoy, to forget the stresses of life and just skate, but also to remember, there are some little future skaters out there whose parent(s) would love to be able to bring them to the park without exposing them to vulgarity and other things ahead of their age bracket. Not that we will be able to stop all of it, but I think we can help curb a lot of it between his group and the signage we intend to have at the park. This park will remain a major interest of our foundation in the years to come and serve as a platform to reach the community and fight this battle.
We are currently working on a dedication event at the skate park. The date of the event is October 12, 2019 from 2pm to 8pm (with a rain date of October 19, 2019). There will be Live Music supported by professional sound and stage companies, The Suicide Prevention representatives, Food Trucks, Merchandise tents for our Foundation, the bands and other vendors. This day is a big step forward in our fight to #UnStigma the conversation around depression and suicide. We plan to have door prizes at each event to help raise donations.
In addition to being the President of our Foundation, I am employed as a Captain and EMT with Electric Boat Fire Department. I am excited for the opportunity in both my career and now with our foundation to try and make a difference in our community. We want to make every effort to get rid of the STIGMA that masks the depression and suicide crisis we are facing in our towns and cities. We cannot accomplish this dream without the support of each person, business and community.
Change has to start somewhere, and in my opinion there is no better place than Milford to start this change. I have lost too many to this exact illness, this disease called Depression. There are far too many familiar names from Milford where I grew up that have left us too soon as a result of depression. I am hoping we can take a stand and start something big here, but it will not be possible without everyone’s help.
Thank You and Best Wishes,
William G. Jamieson Jr.