Missoula teens host rugby tournament to raise awareness for suicide
MISSOULA, Mont. - Rugby teams from Montana and Idaho gathered at Washington-Grizzly Stadium for the fourth annual Jack Riekena Memorial 7's Tournament.
The tournament was originally founded by Jack's brother, Jason.
Jack was a Big Sky High School sophomore who took his own life in December 2012. He was known for his passion for rugby and played for the local Mud Dogs.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Montana has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
This year, Big Sky High School seniors Jake Riekena and Brady Clawson hosted the tournament for their senior projects.
Jake says there are two reasons he wanted to use the tournament for his senior project.
"For one, for my brother, and two to give back to the community and help spread the word about suicide because suicide attacks anybody," Jake said.
Brady says he was excited to co-host the tournament in Jack's honor.
"It is very important because of Jack's family," Brady said. "I wanted to do good for his family."
Students aren't the only ones taking action. Lawmakers in Helena are also working out a solution to the suicide problem.
House Bill 381 would require teachers and school staff to address suicide prevention and response. The bill is in the house and will see its third reading Monday morning.
So far, the seniors say they've raised more than $7,000 to help pay for the tournament, and the remaining to go towards sponsors supporting suicide awareness.