November 12 was an especially cold evening but that did not stop Ben Lambousis from repeatedly flipping a 700 pound earth-mover tire at the Marlboro High School as a fundraiser to bring attention to suicide awareness and prevention.
Lambousis said this was the first time he took on such a daunting challenge, but he has competed in the Strongman circuit for the past 24 years as an amateur and lightweight pro and won a national title this year for the third time.
“This year I tried doing something that I’ve never heard being done before and see if I can raise some money and do it,” he said. “My goal is to try to bring things like this to schools around the area.”
Lambousis owns a gym in Washingtonville called Hurt Performance Inc, whose motto is ‘Think, Achieve, Become the Impossible’.
Marlboro’s Gay Straight Alliance hosted the Flip4Life event and the money raised will go to the JED Foundation, a New York City based non-profit organization that works to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide of the nation’s teens and young adults. It was founded by Donna and Phil Satow after they lost their youngest son, Jed, to suicide in 1998.
Lambousis said on average 129 people commit suicide throughout the world every hour, with about 127 of that total in the United States alone. In flipping the tire he was trying to match that number but came close with 113 in one hour.
“The cold weather kind of slowed me down a little,” he said, adding that he had previously torn a muscle in his leg that impacted his performance.
“It was really just to bring awareness and to raise some funds for a cause that I believe in,” he said, adding that the event raised about $4,000 for the JED Foundation.
Superintendent Michael Brooks has known Lambousis since Middle School when he was a student in his Science class. Brooks recalled that Lambousis once told him, “that no matter what physical strains I go through, it’s nothing compared to the mental strains that someone goes through relating to thoughts of harming yourself...so if he can bring any level of awareness that it’s OK to reach out for help, that’s why he wants to do this.”
High School Principal Ryan Lawler said the school has numerous services to help students facing difficulties.
“We certainly have an educational component for students in the school and we have counseling services available and work with students in crisis mode,” he said.
Chemistry teacher Trevor North is the adviser to the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, saying this fundraiser fits in well with their goals.
North said the GSA meets every Tuesday after school.
“We want to make sure everyone in the school is accepted no matter who they are and getting ideas out to other people, finding allies in the school and encouraging people to just be themselves and love who they are,” he said.
For additional information or to make a donation, North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.