Hayden family copes with son's suicide, plans on creating non-pr - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hayden family copes with son's suicide, plans on creating non-profit to help those considering suicide

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HAYDEN, Idaho -

On a gorgeous June day, the Croffoot family’s backyard is a spot where Kevin, his wife, Kathy, and their children would unwind. Kevin’s 16-year-old son, Austin, had a zest for life. His father says he was loved by many of his friends, more than Austin would’ve known.

“He's touched so many people, more than he's ever known,” Kevin Croffoot said.

Kevin wakes up early every morning to get his kids ready for school. But on Monday, Austin wasn’t in his room and his bike was gone.

“I immediately started texting him 'where, where are you buddy, please let me know where you're at’,” Croffoot said.

That’s when Kevin, a Northern Lakes firefighter, got an alert to his phone for a call at Honeysuckle Beach.

“I knew something wasn't right, but I had the hope that it wasn't him,” Kevin said.

A short time after, authorities came to the house and told him the unthinkable.

“My son took his own life down on the dike road, that's why I knew it was him, my son loved the lake, he loved the dike road, he loved swimming,” Kevin said.

Unimaginable pain; even for a man who faces tragedy on the fire lines.

“When it's your kid,” Kevin said, “and I'm probably speaking for every parent that has experienced it is the most horrific, hardest thing to comprehend."

It’s tough to even comprehend the numbers.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, suicide numbers have been going up nationwide since 1999. In Idaho alone, suicides are up by over 40%. The Croffoot’s say now is the time for this to stop.

“I don't want this to happen,” Kevin said, “you know, we all grieve differently, we all read things differently and my wife immediately said ‘we're going to do something in Austin's name’.”

The Croffoot’s are now hoping to create a non-profit that’ll offer counseling to anyone thinking about suicide and help family and friends after a death. The organization would also teach people how to love one another. Kevin says his own son’s death wasn’t anyone else’s fault.

“Kids now these days, their words are hurting one another,” Croffoot said.

He’s talking about social media; when kids sometimes say things they don’t necessarily mean or something they wouldn’t say in person. He says that’s where parents come in.

“I wish I had all those one more drives with my son or running all those errands and as parents man hug your kids, run those errands, put down that vacuum, tools, or the lawnmower and go do it,” Kevin said.

There is a vigil planned for Austin Friday night. It’s at 7:30 P.M. at Croffoot Park in Hayden. Kevin plans to announce the non-profit and have several people speak. The candlelight vigil portion will take place at dusk.

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