New highway truck brings awareness to mental health and suicide prevention

Doug Hughes of Kenworth Northeast Group, Councilmember Christine Adamczyk, Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner, Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, and Mark Kough of Henderson Products, unveil a new highway truck that brings awareness to mental health and suicide prevention. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Doug Hughes of Kenworth Northeast Group, Councilmember Christine Adamczyk, Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner, Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, and Mark Kough of Henderson Products, unveil a new highway truck that brings awareness to mental health and suicide prevention. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The Town of Cheektowaga Highway Department unveil a new truck that brings awareness to mental health and suicide prevention.

The truck is painted purple and turquoise, and semicolons are painted on the side of the truck as part of the Project Semicolon.  A campaign which hopes to reduce the incidents of suicide in the world through connected community and greater access to information and resources.

The campaign’s mission quote “; your story is not over yet” is displayed on the back of the truck along with the phone number for Crisis Services.

“There is an ongoing epidemic of mental health, addiction, and suicide; and bringing awareness to this issue is very personal for me,” said Supervisor Diane Benczkowski.  “Many of our teens and young adults will immediately recognize the semicolon symbol and its meaning as soon as they see the truck driving down the street.  It is my hope that this truck will remind individuals struggling with a mental health illness that ‘their story is not over yet’.  The Crisis Services phone number is painted on the back of the truck to encourage individuals struggling with these issues to reach out for help. We need to break through the stigmas associated with this illness once and for all.”

The mental health awareness and suicide prevention truck is the third truck in the highway department’s fleet to bring attention to a cause.

“It’s fantastic to see the town get involved with the community and give something back by creating awareness is a phenomenal project on behalf of the highway department,” said Mark Kough, Sales Manager of Henderson Products.  “There is one other town that has a theme truck, but in Upstate New York this is the only group of theme trucks that we know of and to have them on the road and to bring awareness to the causes they represent is an inexpensive and very flattering way to do it for the residents.  The residents should be proud.”

The other theme trucks in the department’s fleet include a pink ribbon wrapped truck for cancer awareness unveiled in January 2016, and a puzzle wrapped truck bringing awareness to individuals and families living with autism introduced in April 2017.

“I’m proud that Cheektowaga is leading the way by bringing awareness to this cause,” said Councilmember Christine Adamczyk.  “This truck is a beautiful way to send a message of hope and inspiration to all, and it is my hope that it will let people who are hurting know that there is always somebody there to help in their time of need.”

The design was inspired by Ms. Benczkowski, and the paint and decals were donated by the vendors; Henderson Products and Kenworth Northeast Group.  The truck will be used for all regular highway department duties.

You can learn more about Project Semicolon and their cause by visiting their website at projectsemicolon.com.

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