Mid-Michigan sports legend's 2014 death highlights need for suic - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan sports legend's 2014 death highlights need for suicide awareness

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

"He did know everybody, he seemed like a lovable guy, he loved life, I thought of him as a strong, invincible man," Beth Wirgowski said.

Dennis Wirgowski was a sports legend in Bay City.  At Central High School, he starred in football, taking the field like youngsters practicing today.  He went on to play college football. 

He then played for the New England Patriots of the NFL. His wife Beth Wirgowski misses him every day.

"I think he thought he had this persona he needed to live up to," Beth Wirgowski said.

The thing is, Beth Wirgowski never thought Dennis would take his own life. She was shocked when it happened.

Dennis Wirgowski had been having some health problems and broke a hip.  His doctor called him at home, concerned about his well-being.

"And I remember him saying, ‘Doc, I just need a happy pill.’ And I wish I would have said 'what do you mean, you need a happy pill?' He was sad then. Two weeks later he ended his life," Beth Wirgowski said.

That's why Beth Wirgowski encourages people to attend the Walk for Hope on Sunday, Aug. 16, to raise awareness of a problem that's more widespread than a lot of people realize.

"It's really about mental wellness and if we can understand mental wellness warning signs, risk factors we'll better know how to respond," Beth Wirgowski said.

Beth Wirgowski wears a necklace bearing the thumbprint of Dennis Wirgowski.  She wants people to get help and understand depression and suicide, so they won't go through the pain that she experienced and continues to experience. 

"Suicide is out there, and if we can help save lives, this is what this is about," Beth Wirgowski said.

For more information on the Walk for Hope, click here.

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