Mother Speaks About Superior Firefighter Son’s Suicide; Dept. Holds New Support TrainingFOX 21
March 7, 2019
But when his demons still ate away inside, he retired from the department after 20 years of service hoping for relief — relief that never came and only got worse after Erik’s father took his own life while battling a debilitating disease.
“He had Parkinson’s. He just couldn’t deal with being disabled anymore,” Cheryl said. “I think Erik blamed himself. He should have been able to stop it.”
Erik, their only child, would end his life just three months later.
SUPERIOR, Wis. – Cheryl Sutton, the mother of Erik Sutton — a retired Superior fire battalion chief – broke her silence Thursday about her son’s suicide to FOX 21’s Dan Hanger.
This, as the Superior Fire Department – for the first time – takes on special mental health training to help prevent another tragedy involving one of their own.
“Each step of his career, it was like, wow, this kid has made it. This is great. This is fantastic. But underlying it, we had no clue what was going on,” said Cheryl Sutton, Erik’s mother.
“Whenever that bell goes off, you put the personal stuff aside and you go on the call — and sometimes you have to deal with some pretty traumatic things,” said Suzi Olson, captain of the Superior Fire Department and president of the Superior Firefighters Local 74.
Olson says the old days of firefighting are long gone with traumatic medical calls becoming far too common.
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