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Wabash Club of Indianapolis Leadership Breakfast

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This year's Wabash Club of Indianapolis Leadership Breakfast covered the topic of mental health and suicide awareness with three engaging speakers and honored the WCI Man of the Year. 2023 NCAA Divison III heavyweight national champion Jack Heldt '23 chats with a fellow Wabash man.

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Cristian Cantu '26 introduces himself to an attendee.

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Kyle McClammer '08 (left) shares a laugh with Mike Warren '93, Senior Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations.

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Josh Burgan '09 enjoys a laugh prior to the program with his tablemates.

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Presidet Scott Feller (center) engages with Mike Crider, District 28 State Senator (right), and Kari Tarman.

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Jack Tandy '79 (center) enjoys a moment with a few alums, including Joe Trebley '01 (left).

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Nearly every seat was taken for this event.

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WCI Leadership Breakfast Committee Chair Cory Kopitze '14 opens the program with introductions.

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Chris Bojrab, M.D. '98 and President of Indiana Health Group, mentioned that access to care is a problem in the state, as Indiana ranks 48th nationally in terms of access to psychiatrists.

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Head Football Coach Don Morel was very interested in the morning's topic.

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Bojrab also clarified that depression is a whole-body disease.

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Suicide prevention advocate Leslie Weirich gave a powerful personal account of the loss of her son, Austin '18, in 2016. 'It's been more than six years since the loss of my son to suicide and I've learned so much,' she said. 'We are wired for connection. People don't call crisis lines for obesity (or like diseases). They call for a connection.'

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Student Body President Bryce McCollough '23 was one of many current students present.

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Weirich continued, 'Everyone who walked through the doors this morning is dealing with something. What's in your emotional backpack? The culture of 'man up' has to change. The amount of men who suffer from depression is underreported. Why? Becasue they man up...What happens to trauma when you stuff it in your backpack? Men often suffer in silence. No one ever died from suicide. It happens in that crucible moment when they lose hope--when they can't see the next moment in front of them.'

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Kai Warren '24 listened intently.

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Indiana State Senator (District 28) and Majority Whip Mike Crider spoke of his connection and entry into the mental health space and efforts to pass Senate Bill 1, which could significantly increase mental health services statewide.

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Zech Banks '16 is a regular Leadership Breakfast attendee.

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Crider said, 'It's great to talk about mental health issues in spaces like these because for so long there has been a stigma attached. We need to take care of each other. If ever there was a topic where it takes a village, it's this one.'

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The Wabash Club of Indianapolis Man of the Year Award was presented to Frank Kolisek '82 (left) by his son, Jake '11. In introducing his father, he said, 'I can sit here all day and talk about what he's done for the College…My dad always says something that resonates with me, which goes with good habits, his way of living, and how we treat others. He says that you are passionate about the things you care about. Along with family and his job, Wabash was right up there. I can't tell you how many times he called me on Saturdays to go do a random basketball or a baseball game. He's always active in fundraising efforts to better the school and get involved.'

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After the ceremony, Kolisek said, '(This award) has made me realize that a lot of the things that I've done for Wabash over the years actually had an impact. And that's so nice to know.'

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Jake laughs at one of his father's jokes while offstage.

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Kolisek spoke, too, of lasting impacts of the College: 'The longer you’ve been out, the more young men you see graduate, and the more you see what Wabash has done for them. You see what it did for your two sons who went there. Then you realize how impactful the school is, and those impacts kind of grow on you.'

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Kipp Chase '03, Presidet of the National Association of Wabash Men, listens to Kolisek's acceptance speech.

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Kolisek and his family pose for a group photo.