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Hartland Man Plans 224-Mile Walk for Suicide Awareness

Dean Cobb and Duane Fox will walk from Frankfort/Benzonia to Hartland, in memory of Cobb's son-in-law Adam Tupa.

Written by Joni Hubred-Golden

When Dean and Sue Cobb of Hartland lost their son-in-law Adam Tupa to suicide in 2009, "it struck the family pretty hard."

"At that point, in my mind, I thought, I have to do something," said Dean Cobb, a retired North Farmington teacher.  

This year, he is doing something big. From Sept. 15-26, Dean, 66, and 62-year-old Duane Fox, retired Farmington Hills Police (and North Farmington liaison) officer, will walk 224 miles from Frankfort/Benzonia to Hartland, where Dean and Sue have lived for 23 years. The journey will raise funds for theAmerican Foundation for Suicide Prevention

On Sept. 22, Sue Cobb, a part-time employee at the Hartland Township, will take part in the Out of the Darkness walk at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, which also benefits the Foundation. 

Dean Cobb said he proposed the idea during a conversation with Fox about what they would do when they retired. The walk was originally planned for 2012, but Dean's knee surgery delayed it. 

Now fully recovered, Dean planned the route and located hotels along the way that would provide the walkers with a room for the night. "I was only turned down by one, all of the others, it was an immediate yes," he said. "There wasn't a hesitation."

The more word spread about the walk, the more Dean and Sue Cobb began to hear stories from people who lost relatives and friends to suicide. 

"We're finding out this is more widespread than we thought," Dean said. 

The Cobbs know first-hand that suicide has a wide impact. 

Adam left behind his wife Becky, and daughters Oni, almost 5, and Carson, 2; his parents, Ron and Kathy; his grandparents, Robert and Jeanette Pierson; siblings Jeanine, Eric and Aaron; in-laws and many, many extended family members.  

Adam's employer, Detroit Diesel, even rescheduled shifts and made arrangements for co-workers to attend his funeral.

Keeping thoughts of Adam at the forefront, Dean Cobb has no doubt he and Fox will finish the walk. They'll move in legs of about 20 miles each, with stops every two hours and helpers to bring them supplies along the way. 

"Every step counts," Dean said. "Our whole point is there is help. You don't have to take that last step." 

Walkers are welcome to join Dean and Duane on any leg of the journey. To support their efforts, make donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walks ("Team Tupa"), at 
www.afsp.org.   

Follow the walkers and learn more at facebook.com/CobbandFox.

To get help with depression or suicidal thoughts, call Common Ground at 1-800-231-1127, Samaritan Counseling at 248-474-4701 or the National Suicide Prevention hot line at 1-800-273-TALK.

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