Unsung Hero: Zane Wenner

B-A senior speaks publicly about his stepfather’s suicide


Marissa Panasiti

Zane Wenner spoke recently at the Out of the Darkness Walk about his father’s suicide.

Being a hero does not always mean having superpowers or saving the day from evil. Every day, people in our community show another aspect of what being a hero can truly be.

Showing courage, bravery, and mental strength is also an extremely heroic act.  Senior Zane Wenner displayed all of these qualities when he spoke publicly about grappling with his step-father’s suicide at Aevidum’s annual Out of the Darkness Walk to benefit suicide prevention, which took place Saturday, September 25th.

Zane sets an example of how we all should address crises and how faith can help guide us through life’s dark valleys.

— Mr. McNaul

On January 12, 2015, Zane lost his stepfather to suicide. Todd Patterson suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from a life of serving in the Marine Corps and the National Guard.

“I lost my hero,” Zane said.

Todd was the person in Zane’s life who gave him the most knowledge and love. He describes it as being the most difficult thing he has ever had to cope with.

But it was clear to Zane that a difference in the world was needed. One step in this process was to let his voice be heard at the Out of the Darkness Walk.

Zane Wenner at the 2015 Face Conference

Zane said he simply wanted to be able to help someone in need.  Although everyone’s stories are different, the amount of care and compassion that needs to be given is equal.

“I’m tremendously proud of Zane,” says the advisor of Aevidum, Mr. Matthew McNaul. “He’s proof that terrible circumstances in people’s life can be used to spark positive change in society.  Zane understands that at times life is difficult and tough to understand.  However, his strong faith in God has led him through this dark time and has helped him find purpose when most would only see despair.  He sets an example of how we all should address crises and how faith can help guide us through life’s dark valleys.”

Zane also has created his own website called The Fear Not Foundation. He is accepting donations and selling t-shirts to help raise money for suicide and PTSD awareness. He shares his story and a blog on the website as well.

The first time he spoke about this tragic event was at the 2015 Face Conference in June, and it he said was very difficult for him. However, that feeling of fear quickly disappeared.

“Zane is self-motivated to achieve more than others,” says B-A vocational agriculture teacher Mr. Matt Webreck. “He has participated in public speaking contests with the FFA that have helped him with his presentation skills.”

Zane admits he was nervous about speaking, but he knew that he was meant to raise his voice and help change the world.

“God has given me the courage to stand up and express what is important to me,” Zane says.

The feeling he experienced while he was speaking was something he had never felt before. It gave him a sense of security and hope.

“Sometimes we do not know why something happened. We may never know, but in the end, it will have a purpose. Missing that person will never go away, but the pain will. No matter what, you know that that person loved you. If we can learn to accept that God had a purpose, it will get easier. God will uphold you in this walk,” says Zane.