Local organization donates books to students in honor of late sons

St. Paul family turns tragedy into legacy

St. Paul family turns tragedy into legacy

The emotions can be raw when Dean and Bridget Paitich walk the halls of Como Park Elementary, where their son George taught for five years.

“He was friends to all those kids,” Bridget said. “He understood them, walked in their shoes, knew how to help them out.”

The only thing George loved more than teaching was the kids he taught, and wasn’t afraid to let the world know it, ending his social media posts with “#ForTheKids.”

George died in a motorcycle accident eight years ago. He was 28 years old.

George’s brother Max was never the same after his death. Max battled mental illness and later died by suicide.

The foundation started by Dean and Bridget, #ForTheKids, gifted over 100 fourth graders at Como Park Elementary copies of “The Right Thing to Do” by Joe Schmit and Joe Mauer to honor their sons’ memories.

RELATED: KSTP’s Joe Schmit pens children’s book about kindness inspired by Twins great Joe Mauer

“I’m always trying to think of things I can do to carry on George and Max’s names and legacies and passions,” Bridget said. “That book really hit hard for me.”

Family says George would have liked that Mike Halley, the young blind student whom Joe Mauer befriended, was there to share his story.

Grief in life is inevitable, but sometimes the best cure is to give back.

Here is a list of suicide prevention and mental health resources:

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests you:

  • Ask questions about whether the individual is having suicidal thoughts.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Seek help from a medical or mental health professional. If it is an emergency situation, take the person to a hospital.
  • Remove any objects from a person’s home that could be potentially used in a suicide.
  • Do not leave the person alone, if possible, until help is available.