NEWARK — Lou Mitchell was always trying to help others.
Whether they were members of the Licking County Settlers, kids at Newark’s middle schools or families at the Licking County Family YMCA, he wanted to make a difference.
Mitchell took his own life June 24, 2012. His family decided to raise awareness about suicide prevention in his memory.
On July 21, Mental Health America of Licking County will hold the second Lou Mitchell Memorial Golf Outing with support from his family. The event begins at 12:30 p.m. at Moundbuilders Country Club.
The event will celebrate Mitchell’s love for golf while generating funds for MHA’s suicide prevention programs, said Mitchell’s oldest son, Louis “Tad” Mitchell III.
“If this could help anyone, I know it would bring a smile to (my dad’s) face,” he said.
A Newark native, Lou Mitchell was a successful businessman who was a co-founder of Newark High School’s A Call to College and a major donor to Denison University and the Y.
For many years he helped sponsor Newark middle school students on an annual trip to Washington, D.C.
“He lived in Columbus, but Newark was always his hometown,” Tad Mitchell said. “He always enjoyed helping people.”
Lou Mitchell’s death was a shock to many people, his son said.
By sharing his story, family members hope to clear up misconceptions surrounding the warning signs of suicide.
“It might not seem like it on the surface but sometimes there is more than meets the eye,” Tad Mitchell said.
Money raised by the golf outing will be used to provide more training to people and local organizations about the warning signs of suicide, said Penny Sitler, executive director of MHA.
For Sitler, working on the golf outing is personal. For two years, she served as president of the Licking County Settlers, which Lou Mitchell founded in 2006.
“I worked very closely with Lou,” she said. “The day he died was a very sad day for us. It was a big shock.”
Although last year’s golf outing was affected by rainy weather, Sitler said she is hoping for sunshine and a good turnout this time. Individuals and teams can sign up, and people who don’t want to golf can attend an evening cookout that will include information on prevention.
The last two years have been difficult for the Mitchell family, but Tad Mitchell said they want something positive to come out of it.
“I think (my dad) would be interested in helping people who hear his story know they are not alone in this world,” he said.
This article appeared in the Newark Advocate on July 4, 2014.