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Walk to honor the memory of a reporter lost to suicide will raise awareness about mental health

Neena Pacholke
WAOW Television
Neena Pacholke

Neena Pacholke would've celebrated her golden birthday on Saturday.

To honor her memory and legacy, The Granite House is hosting a remembrance walk in Rib Mountain Saturday.

It's not a formal event, so there's no official start time. But you're encouraged to lace up your shoes, and walk up the hill. It was one of Neena's favorite activities.

And it's something those close to her have lots of memories with, like her dad.

"We would get up and be able to watch the sunrise. It was so special to get up early, park at the base, walk up and then get pictures with the sunrise. It's just so beautiful. For Neena and me and us, it was our special thing," said Aaron Pacholke.

The Granite House, formerly Community Corner Clubhouse, is taking the lead on the event. Neena's parents donated to their cause after her death, and now they want to make sure her memory isn't forgotten.

"It's more of a day about reflecting and remembering. It's not an organized walk. People can come and just have a day to reflect," said Granite House President Mike Frankel.

Members of The Granite House will be at the bottom of the hill with info about their organization, and mental health resources for those who need it.

"It's very important, because people with mental illness don't need to just be thrown aside. They need to get the help that they need," said Granite House member Sarah Westberg.

Organizers say if they can save just one life, that's enough.

So as you lace up your walking shoes and head up the hill, Neena's family wants you to remember one thing:

"I hope people just feel joy. Just be happy. Love each other. Neena loved life and she loved Wausau. Just enjoy each other. I just hope everyone can enjoy each other and enjoy that we're here while we're here. And make memories," Aaron Pacholke said.

The Granite House is also hosting a fundraiser in Neena's honor in October.

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