By Nancy Price
Judy Proctor is helping to change the stigma of mental illness and suicide on the Southside.
Eleven years ago, the mother of three tragically lost her son Andrew to suicide. Through her grief, she felt inspired to volunteer and help others left behind after a loved one’s death to suicide.
Judy became involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). She has served on the Indiana chapter’s board, in addition to participating with the Walk Committee and has been a team captain for at least six years for the Out of the Darkness Walks in Indianapolis. She is also attempting to bring suicide prevention awareness to CG Schools and founded a survivor of suicide group on the Southside called Hope and Healing. The group has grown to approximately 40 participants. In addition, there is now a group for youth (from 9-18 years of age) called Spreading Your Youthful Wings.
“We are able to discuss with each other our emotions and how we survive,” she said. “There are people who come right after a suicide. Some of us have lost our loved one years ago, but the hole in your heart never heals in grief. Resources are free and available at all the meetings, besides the priceless information shared by the survivors.”
Meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month from 7-8:30 p.m. at University Heights United Methodist Church, 4002 Otterbein Ave., Indianapolis, 46227.
For more information, please visit hopeandhealingsos.com.
What is your greatest virtue?
Willingness to help others.
What do you like best about Center Grove?
Center Grove is always striving to do its best for schools. Center Grove Schools are striving to be the best in education. I enjoy working with teachers and administration that care deeply for their students as if the students were their own children. The teachers and administration are a wealth of information. The part of my job that I love is hearing improvement in a child’s speech and/or language which always brings tears to my eyes.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the far Northside of Indianapolis and attended Bishop Chatard High School.
What is your educational background?
Ball State University with a major in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a master’s degree in Special Education, professionalizing my licenses in SPAA and Deaf Education.
What do you do as an employee of Center Grove Schools?
I am a speech/language pathologist working with students who have difficulty communicating from those who are nonverbal to those who have difficulty speaking clearly due to sound errors or fluency. Also, I work with those who have difficulty understanding language and vocabulary for their cognitive level as well as speaking at that level.
What upsets you?
Dishonesty, disrespect and loud conflict bother me.
How many children do you have and where do they live?
I have three sons: JD is the oldest; he is 33 and lives in Camby. Chris lives in Westfield with his wife, Ngoc, and Andrew would have been 30.
Where is your favorite Southside eatery?
Texas Roadhouse is my favorite Southside eatery.
If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be?
The Northside of Indianapolis or Broad Ripple area.
If you had to begin life over, what would you change?
To try to let things go which were not important and enforce more of the things which were important and get help for our mental health.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it?
An animal shelter in memory of my youngest son, Andrew. He was awesome with animals. He had wanted to be a veterinarian. This would model a shelter in San Francisco, which is two floors with the bottom floor accommodating vets who serviced their patients as well as those for adoption. It also would benefit the community by inviting retired and other special groups to walk and/or play with the animals.
What makes you happiest?
Being with family and friends make me happiest.
Pick three adjectives that best describe you.
I’m compassionate, faith-filled and positive.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Two favorite vacation spots are: NYC for all its sites and excitement and San Francisco for all it famous sites and beautiful scenery.
What do you do with your idle time?
Try to relax by reading, walking my dog, being outside, being with my cat and dog, watching movies and listening to music.
What would you change about our culture if you could?
More family centered, relieve stress somehow, value life, more God-centered, value honesty and each other.
How do you escape from reality?
Watch movies, read, travel and ride a bike.
What do you love most in life?
I love God, family, friends, animals and nature.
Which living person in Center Grove do you most admire?
I admire and love a dear friend with whom I have known many years through work. She has strong faith, values and optimistic outlook, even though she has battled cancer going on her third time at a fairly young age. Throughout all the downs, she continues to smile and work. She is a warrior with a great sense of humor. She loves her family dearly and her life, living each day to its utmost.
What quality do you admire most in another person?
I admire so many qualities that it is hard to name just one. Honesty, faith, humor and optimism.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying my new car outright.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing my children and grandchildren.
What has been the happiest time of your life?
Having my three sons and my first grandchild.
Is there a special talent you really wish you had?
I wish I could speak with wisdom in every situation.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their loving, positive ways.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Benjamin Franklin, who was very creative, besides having many wise things to say.
What tenet do you live by?
Behind the person’s exterior, you do not know what is going on inside.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I can be a risk-taker – I have parasailed.