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Officer to speak on suicide

Zube describes impact of losing his brother

By Angie Landsverk

The Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Coalition will present “From First on Scene to Next of Kin” at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at Waupaca High School.

Wes Zube will be the keynote speaker.

The Waupaca police officer will talk about how he has been affected both professionally and personally by suicide.

“I will talk about getting used to death, destruction, seeing people in their worst situations and just pretending you’re OK and nothing affects you,” he said.

Zube will also talk about his journey to seek counseling and how it reaffirmed his career choice and to use it to help others.

The program is free and open to the public.

A resource fair will precede the program, beginning at 5:30 p.m., in the school’s commons.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.

Between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2017, Waupaca County lost 36 people to suicide.

The Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Coalition formed in late 2011.

It meets monthly and includes counselors, social workers, nurses, veterans’ specialists, police officers, clergy and community specialists.

This is the fifth consecutive year it is sponsoring a program.

The coalition’s website is www.waupaca-saves.org, and its Facebook page is www.facebook.com/WaupacaCountySuicidePreventionCoalition.

Zube became part of the coalition last fall.

He did so following the Sept. 12, 2017 death of his brother Calvin.

Zube’s brother committed suicide.

The military veteran would have turned 32 on April 15.

“I don’t tell Calvin’s story. I don’t know what was going through his head. I have my ideas,” Zube said. “I tell my story.”

Zube has been a full-time officer with the city of Waupaca for six years and just began his second year as the liaison officer in the Waupaca School District.

He was at the police station the morning he found out his brother had left a suicide message.

It was three days after Zube and his wife Lisa’s wedding day.

“On the way to Madison, I found out he went through with it,” Zube said. “I gave Dad the death notification because I saw it before he saw it.”

Zube handled it like a police officer.

It was not until he got back home and took off his badge and gun that he started crying.

That was six hours after it happened.

“Before my situation, I never thought about getting help,” Zube said.

By the time his brother’s funeral took place, he had met with a counselor twice.

He continues to see a counselor.

Zube talks openly about how counseling has helped him, and that it is OK to seek help.

He has spoken to police and fire departments, as well as to students in the Waupaca School District.

His program will be about 1 1/2 hours in length.

That includes about 30 minutes at the end for questions.

Zube said his talk will be appropriate for all ages.

He hopes veterans attend it and said one does not have to be a police officer or other emergency personnel to get something out of it.

“My goal is if one person in the audience listens, then I didn’t go through everything I went through for nothing,” Zube said.

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