New 5K, one-mile run will honor Aztec teenager
The Love for Thad 5K Walk/Run is named after Thaddeus Hale, a 13-year-old Aztec middle school student who took his own life
FARMINGTON — A new 5K and one-mile run in honor of an Aztec teenager who took his own life will raise money for crisis counseling services and increase awareness about suicide prevention.
The inaugural Love for Thad 5K Walk/Run, organized by Desert View Counseling, is scheduled for June 11 at Berg Park in Farmington. The event is named after 13-year-old Thaddeus J. Hale, a C.V. Koogler Middle School student who died by suicide on Nov. 10, 2014.
In April 2015, the late boy's mother, Amber Hale, joined the board of directors at Desert View to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention services.
After her son's death, Hale said she wanted to find a way to prevent local families from going through the same experience.
"My family has been through — lack for a better term — hell for the last 18 months," she said.
Hale and staff at the counseling center have worked since January to organize the 5K and one-mile run. As of last week, about 50 people had signed up. Early registration ends on June 7.
The event will be the first run/walk fundraiser for the counseling service, said CEO Rick Quevedo.
Proceeds will fund a crisis counseling team to help San Juan County residents cope with traumatic events, Quevedo said. Funds will help cover the cost of developing the team and paying counselors who currently volunteer their time.
Money raised will also fund suicide prevention programs in county middle schools.
Counselors were dispatched to schools in the Aztec Municipal School District after Thad’s death in 2014 and to Central Consolidated School District schools in Kirtland, Shiprock and Ojo Amarillo in the aftermath of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike's death earlier this month.
Quevedo said counselors first spoke to CCSD bus drivers — including the driver of the bus who drove the girl to Ojo Amarillo Elementary School — to help them process their grief before they got back on the road.
During the 5K and one-mile runs, information about suicide prevention will be posted along the sidewalks at Berg Park.
The runs will begin at the Little Pavilion in Berg Park with a balloon release before the races to acknowledge friends and family who have taken their own lives.
Quevedo described the event as family-friendly and said there will be music and refreshments from Smoothie King.
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.
If you go
What: Inaugural Love for Thad 5K Walk/Run
When: 8:30 a.m. June 11
Where: Little Pavilion at Berg Park, 400 Scott Ave., Farmington
Cost: $25 for early registration, which ends June 7, and $35 after that. Children 12 and younger are $10.