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Marchants slated for Good Morning America

by Sheila Gardner

Early morning television viewers may catch Cindy and Larry Marchant of Gardnerville on “Good Morning America” between 7 and 9 a.m. today.

The Marchants were flown to New York City on Sunday for a quick 36-hour visit. They are featured with several other families in a segment about teen-age boys who committed suicide. The program is part of ABC’s four-part series on “America’s Sons.”

The Marchants’ 13-year-old son Eric took his own life in June 1998. Since his death, the Marchants have been active in suicide prevention in northern Nevada.

“There were 15 of us there talking about 10 sons,” said Cindy Marchant. “The amazing thing was that three of the boys were named Eric and three were named Mike.”

Other people at the taping were from the New York area, San Diego, Texas and the Emme family from Colorado. At the invitation of the Marchants, Dar and Dale Emme came to Douglas County last year as speakers in the Yellow Ribbon project which they created following the death of their teen-age son Mike.

The Emmes recommended the Marchants for the television program.

“The producers of the show wanted to know if there was anything that sent up a red flag prior to our sons’ deaths,” she said. “For all of us, the answer was no. Then, they asked us in hindsight, if the same things happened again, would this be a red flag?

“In the last year, Eric had become very quiet. We put it down to maturity and the fact that he was becoming an adolescent,” she said. “A lot of us interpreted possible warning signs down to just our sons becoming adolescents.

“We’ve just got to start talking to our kids. We focus on material and physical needs and we need to focus on the emotional, too. We’re not afraid to ask our kids if they’ve ever smoked, if they’ve been approached to buy drugs. We need to also be asking them the tough questions, ‘Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?'”

The Marchants enjoyed New York City and the royal treatment from ABC which paid all their expenses.

“It was just wonderful and hard at the same time,” she said. “It’s always good to meet other people traveling the same road you are. Some are very involved in prevention, some aren’t. Some are recent survivors and some are like us and have been in the process for a year and a half. There are just so many of us out there.”

Marchant said after the taping, many of the crew members came up to the families and told them how moved they were by the comments. She said the taping took 30 minutes and was to be condensed to six minutes for the broadcast on Channel 8.

“Everybody was very nice and extremely friendly,” she said.