Guest Blogger: Emilio Zamarripa
In Loving Memory
On January 24th, 2018, our Steepletown family faced an unforeseen tragedy that left staff and participants in a place of brokenness and despondency. Our beloved friend and colleague, Nathan Beals, took his life after lifelong battles with depression. For those of you that had known Nathan can most certainly recall his love and spirit comparable to his size and stature. With his heart on his sleeve and sweat on his forehead, Nathan advocated for this community. Nathan didn’t work tirelessly to empower the young men of the JobStart program. Rather, he LIVED to do so. And many of us will never understand the depth of darkness he regularly faced, nor the energy and focus it took to show up every day and continue putting the needs of others before his own. But we recognize and value Nathan’s life mission, and will continue to value his legacy.
As time passes, we grow to understand that Nathan is at peace. He is with his Lord, in his heavenly kingdom, where all of his desires and wants have been relieved by Jesus. Nathan would sing passionately from his office songs of praise. It seems that he did this to fuel himself if he were having a rough day. Little did he know, he was helping to refuel the spirits of anyone within an earshot of his voice. His love was extensively contagious.
As an agency and as a community, we are still dealing with this loss. We have sought resources to help us process our heartache and grief, and will continue to practice the strategies learned. In a recent publication in on MLIVE, it was stated that 2017 suicide deaths in Kent County have surpassed a 20-year high. Therefore, we will advocate and support those struggling with similar mental health issues. We will be ok, and we will continue to serve our communities to be as healthy as possible.
We would also like to extend our deepest appreciation for the love and support that has poured in from our friends, colleagues, community partner agencies, stakeholders, and others. You’re thoughts and prayers go further than you know. We cannot thank you enough.
Nathan’s joyful spirit, boisterous laugh, and fatherly warmth will be missed. But in so many ways, we continue seeing Nathan’s spirit in our work.
So thank you, Nathan. For everything.