On Wednesday, Crookston High School students were blessed with the opportunity to hear from speaker Marc Mero. For one Crookston student in particular, Mero had a huge impact. Melanie Lessard, a mother of a Crookston High School senior, led the effort to bring Marc Mero to Crookston.

After Mero’s presentation at the high school Wednesday morning, a CHS student looking for his autograph, after being convinced by a friend to attend, was helped in more ways than one. The student shared that she was planning on committing suicide and had the chance to visit with Mero.

Lessard told the Times that having Mero in Crookston was a success if it saved one person and she’s already looking into another community speaker for next year.

Marc Mero talked about how to find true happiness and how each of the students mattered. He remained engaged with the crowd and energetic throughout his speech, and brought many to tears. Marc is a former ametuer boxer and professional wrestler. He is also an author, and now travels the country to tell his story. Marc told a powerful story through his personal experiences about how the choices we make in life affect not only us, but others around us.

Mero was a New York Boxing Champion, which led to him becoming a professional boxer, but an injury, followed by alcohol and drug abuse, ended his career. Mero talked about how he started hanging around with the wrong people during his injury, and how he wasted ten years of his life because of his addictions. Mero talked about his childhood, and how he grew up in extreme poverty in Buffalo, New York. Mero said many nights he heard his mother in the room next to his crying herself to sleep, and it broke his heart. He dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, getting rich and famous, and buying a house for his mom.

When Marc become a professional wrestler, he suddenly had all the money he could have ever wished for. He told the CHS students that when he was a kid, he thought that money and success meant happiness, but during his time of most success, he felt empty inside. His success led to him relapsing on his addictions and he started to hang out with the wrong crowd again. During his time as a wrestler, he became very distant from his family, and would not answer their calls or go home to see them. Within a short span of time, his sister, mom, dad, and brother died unexpectedly. Mero was completely heartbroken.

The thing he most regretted was not spending enough time with his family, and he wishes he could have treated them better. He challenged Crookston students to spend time with their families, because you never know what could happen.

Mero also told students to never bully anyone, because there is no way to know what they are going through. He told another heart-wrenching story of one of his friends that died of a drug overdose. This girl had been bullied throughout school, and struggled greatly with depression and self image issues, which led to her overdose. Marc told of how he had once set a day to take his life, but did not go through with it. Marc told the students that he wakes up every morning happy to be alive, and that things will always get better, and there is always hope.

Marc finished by telling students that life is not about winning the race, but it is about finishing the race, and how many people we can help finish.