As Jeremy Duggins biked into the parking lot of the Hockinson Community Center, a crowd of past students, parents and peers cheered him on. It marked the 2,000 miles he rode to raise awareness and funds for a nonprofit that works on suicide prevention.
The welcome home event featured a petting zoo, Kona Shaved Ice, Goldies BBQ and two showings of the documentary “1,700 Miles” that details the teacher’s journey.
Duggins completed a 47-day bike ride from the Canadian border to the border of Mexico while raising more than $18,000 through a GoFundMe page for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
Heather Porter and Julie Pelkey Atchley organized the event to recognize the positive difference Duggins is making for suicide prevention, Porter said.
She said Duggins taught her son, and she often witnessed his open and honest nature.
“What he’s been doing is very brave,” Porter said.
Kona Ice of South Vancouver decided to donate a portion of the proceeds raised at Monday night’s event toward Duggins’ fund.
Also during the event, attendees watched different showings of “1,700 Miles” directed by Marcie Caddell, a recent Mt. Hood Community College graduate.
“I think that the documentary touches on a topic that is important,” Caddell said. “As someone who’s struggled in that area, it hits close to home.”
She said she thought the interview with Duggins would turn into a short, five-minute video, but after speaking with him she realized the project could be something more.
The interviews and other footage turned into a 19-minute-long video that can be viewed on Facebook Watch under “1,700 Miles.”
Duggins continues to raise funds for suicide prevention through GoFundMe. Those interested can donate at charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/cycling-for-suicide-prevention.
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