Platteville firefighter dies by suicide; Fire Chief speaks on importance of mental health
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — On Friday, Platteville Fire Chief Ryan Simmons got a phone call he wasn’t expecting.
“It felt like a shock to us,” Simmons said.
Volunteer firefighter Tim Ebert died by suicide last week.
“He was a student at UW-Platteville. So, between being a student working part time and being a volunteer on the Fire Department, he was a pretty busy guy,” Simmons said.
Ebert had been volunteering with the Platteville Fire Department since fall 2017. Simmons said Ebert was from Saint Germain and would volunteer with the fire department there as well.
Simmons said Ebert was always smiling and always willing to help people.
“People that are dealing with so much depression like that sometimes hide it very well,” he said. “From what everyone knows of Tim and our experiences of him, we definitely would not have suspected anything from him. He didn’t seem depressed or anything. He usually had a smile on his face. He was a happy-go-lucky guy and wanted to help others.”
Simmons said he doesn’t know what may have led Ebert to take his own life, but said that it doesn’t really matter. Simmons emphasized that what matters is that it happened. He wants to focus on his memory and how to prevent this from happening in the future.
“Do we talk about it enough? We probably don’t. We just all think we are rough, tough firefighters and everything just bounces off our skin, but it doesn’t.”
Services for Ebert will be held at the United Church of Christ in Saint Germain on Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 1 tp 3 p.m.
If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is just a phone call away. The number is 1-800-273-8255.
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