'Live for Levi': Late son, husband Craig woman's inspiration for upcoming event

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Jim Weber

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Levi Weber

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“Live for Levi,” an event Tuesday night designed to educate and raise awareness about suicide, is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at The Journey at First Baptist, 1150 W. Ninth St. The event is free and open to anyone.

Quotable

“Levi was an exceptional kid. I don’t think he realized how many people would be impacted by his death. This is my way of honoring his life, by maybe helping someone else.”

— Jeana Weber, a Craig resident, on an event she’s organized in recognition of her son, Levi, and husband, Jim, who committed suicide

Life hasn’t been easy for Jeana Weber since Christmas 2010.

Her husband, Jim Weber, a 47-year-old Craig resident and maintenance mechanic at Trapper Mine, committed suicide that day, bringing a heartbreaking end to a nearly 30-year marriage that produced three sons — Jimmy, 29, Ty, 26, and Levi, 22 — and three grandchildren.

Jeana, 47, a veteran dispatcher for the Colorado State Patrol at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, had 11 months to heal before tragedy dealt another setback.

On Sept. 22, 2011, Levi also killed himself.

Levi, a 2007 graduate of Moffat County High School and an assistant taxidermist at Bullseye Taxidermy in Craig, had no idea how hard his desperate act would hit the community, his mother said.

“Levi was an exceptional kid,” Jeana said. “I don’t think he realized how many people would be impacted by his death. This is my way of honoring his life, by maybe helping someone else.”

Jeana has worked at the Public Safety Center for nearly 20 years. She’s not only had personal encounters with suicide, but also professionally.

She said one particular memory stands out — a man who shot himself attempting to commit suicide called seeking help.

But, the tragic issue wasn’t done with Jeana after Levi died.

Last week, on Feb. 14, a 22-year-old man who was a close friend and former roommate of Levi’s killed himself.

After Jim and Levi’s death, Jeana said she made a decision.

“I had three choices: join them, bury myself in the sand, or I could go on with my life and try to make it happy,” she said. “(The latter is) what I chose.”

She made another vow after Levi’s friend followed him down the same fateful path:

Try to do something about the disturbing trend of suicide in Craig and Moffat County.

Jeana is the organizer behind Tuesday night’s “Live for Levi,” an event designed to educate and raise awareness in the community about suicide.

It’s scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. at The Journey at First Baptist, 1150 W. Ninth St., and is open to anyone.

Jeana said she’s particularly interested in reaching out to teens and people in their 20s in hopes someone struggling like her son and his friend can get the help they need.

“I’ve wanted to do something ever since (Levi) died, but I didn’t know if I was ready,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘What if I had gotten off my butt? Maybe (someone else committing suicide) could have been prevented.’”

The title of the event, “Live for Levi,” was created by Jeana’s sister-in-law, Gayle Zimmerman, with “choose life” an underlying theme.

Jim and Levi were both diagnosed with depression, and Jim also fought alcoholism, Jeana said. While Levi wasn’t a drinker, he had a “multitude of problems going on with his life at the time,” she said.

Tuesday night’s event will include knowledgeable speakers on the difficult subject matter.

Ronna Autrey, executive director of Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, is scheduled to speak, as well as Len Browning, pastor at The Journey.

Browning leads a congregation of about 300 at The Journey, where he’s been pastor for six years. He said his remarks at “Live for Levi” will be welcoming, encouraging visitors to listen, and for people to “choose life,” echoing one of the event’s themes.

He said human beings are significant in theology and creation, and it’s important each person understand his or her value.

Suicide, he conceded, is a difficult issue for a community, especially for those personally touched by it, and his remarks will ideally nudge people to a path that can help them.

“I think the way we get through is connecting to our spiritual side,” Browning said.

Jeana said she’s also trying to line up speakers who have survived their own suicide attempts.

She said she may also address the audience.

“I just don’t know,” she said of speaking Tuesday night. “It being so new … I don’t know. I’m going to try to.”

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