A Message from Sarah Barber at Anderson Bros.
Dear ITPA Members,
As many of you may have heard, one of Anderson Brothers’ key managers, Scott Burch, has suffered a devastating loss to his family. Last Friday, November 30th, Scott’s son, Ryder, took his own life at just 25 years-old, after struggling for years with mental illness. We are all broken-hearted over this news, but none more so than his parents, Scott and his wife Jamie.
We don’t talk about mental illness in our industry a lot. This is our third employee to commit suicide in the past 10 years. When this happens, it leaves so many questions. In all three cases, there were no clear signs that suicide was imminent. It is important to realize that personal issues are company issues. If someone is going through an issue with mental illness, or a divorce, or another personal issue they do bring it to work. If an employee broke their arm, you would talk about how to adjust their work load. The world can be a hard place, but work can be a place of community, a place of support. At Anderson Brothers, I strive to place that value of community and support in every one of our employees and managers.
I have had the pleasure of having Scott Burch be part of the Anderson Brothers team for over two years now. In that time, he has quickly become part of the Anderson Brothers family. All my employees go to him with their issues, both personal and business-related. He is a support to us all and is known for his kind-heartedness. Scott is someone that I am constantly bouncing ideas off of and he has helped me steer this company into the future.
When Scott was set to begin employment with Anderson Brothers, he called me to ask if it was possible to delay his start date for a week. His son Ryder was severely depressed at college and he and Jamie needed to go get him and bring him to live with them. Six months after Scott started, Ryder joined our rack team. He was liked by all that he worked with. The side he showed to the world was positive, but he continued to struggle with mental illness internally. This last April, he had a sever psychotic breakdown. His employment ended with Anderson Brothers on good terms and we all hoped he could get the help he needed.
I have watched Scott and Jamie do everything they could for their sweet boy. I have read the stories his friends have posted on his Facebook page. They are stories of laughter, kindness, humor and a giving person. The world will miss Ryder. I am so happy we got to work with him and know him. So many of you from the industry have reached out to see how you can help. In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe page has been set up to attempt to help with Ryder’s medical and educational bills that are not forgiven with death, but rather put on the shoulders of his family. Please consider a contribution of any size. Anything beyond the debt will go to set up a scholarship in his honor at one of the schools that he attended.
I encourage you all to discuss with your staff the significance of mental health support. Analyze your company benefits to see if any coverage is available. Have resources readily available, free and otherwise. Train your management team to be aware of these issues. Together, we can all help prevent suicide.
If you or someone you know needs help call the suicide hotline
1-800-273-8255. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.