Firefighter Brings Awareness to Difficult Subject
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - Randy Paige has been with the Corpus Christi Fire Department for 28 years. He says his law enforcement friends chuckled when they heard Paige's son, Colten, wanted to become a police officer.
"I guess they thought since I was a firefighter he would go that route," Paige said with a smile.
"I wanted him to do what he wanted to do."
In December 2015, Colton Paige had finished three semesters of criminal justice classes at Del Mar College and was on his way to a successful career in law enforcement. Sadly, that momentum stopped on December 13, when he took his own life.
"He had been depressed and signs were there," Paige said.
"He left no note, so there was no understanding for why he did it."
Paige describes his son as someone who always had a smile on his face. He said Colten was bullied in school and it bothered him to see anyone being picked on.
"Colten could tell if someone was not having a good day and he would go out of his way to talk to those people and try to make them feel better," Paige said.
On Saturday, March 25, the Paige family will host an event to bring awareness to suicide. A "Walk for Colten" will take place at the Calallen Middle School track from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Participants will get sponsors to make donations on their behalf. Scholarships will also be awarded to Calallen graduating seniors attending college to pursue a field of study related to public safety. (See entry form attached to this email.)
The passing of a loved one is difficult, but the unexpected death of a child, especially to suicide, is shattering. Paige hopes by sharing Colten's story, he can help others.
"My message to kids is committing suicide is a permanent action to what is a temporary problem. The affect it has on the living, those left behind, is a devastating, painful sentence for the rest of their lives," Paige said.
Paige, an Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal, is thankful for all of the support he and his family have received from the community. He said recently his firefighter brothers and sisters held a barbecue in Colten's memory and raised $700 for the scholarship fund.
Suicide is a topic that's difficult for most to talk about. Paige, though, is not staying silent. He will talk to anyone about his personal struggle.
"Don't wish things away, there's always signs. Communicate with your kids , depression is an illness, get help."
Paige said after Colten's death he and his family find strength from their faith and messages from complete strangers. He said one in particular from one of Colten's fellow students especially touched his heart. "This young man said, Colten saved my life because he listened to me."