“This Whole County Cares About You”

Marc Mero shares message of inspiration and hope with Warren County students and community

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Marc Mero shares his message of hope and inspiration at the Struthers Library Theatre in Warren on May 11, 2022. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

WARREN, Pa. – For the third time in four years Wednesday, Marc Mero brought a message of inspiration and hope to Warren County.

Mero’s focus as he spoke to students at Eisenhower and Warren Area High Schools, and the community at Struthers Library Theatre, was to help bring healing and support to the community.

“Warren County, just like many communities have suffered some traumatic loss and some heartbreak I mean, just been devastated,” Mero told Your Daily Local in an interview prior to the event at SLT. “And they’re not alone. There’s suicide and depression, anxiety is up higher than it’s ever been in our lifetime. And so when you see what’s happening around the country, we realize that we’ve got to come together as a community.”

The former football player, boxer, and professional wrestler turned motivational speaker framed his presentation around choices. Several times during his community presentation, he stressed that even for those who feel they have no other options, there is always a choice.

“Please, talk to someone. It’s so important,” Mero said during his presentation. “Suicide is something we have to talk about. But know this whole county cares about you. I care about you. And sometimes, life gives you another chance.”

The power of Mero’s message was evident as several in attendance at SLT began to share an embrace at several points throughout the presentation. Multiple attendees were shedding tears as well.

Beyond the physical reaction, Mero said he had already received messages through social media from students who were inspired by his words earlier in the day.

Some just wanted to share how Mero had inspired them.

“It’s one of those things, we have to talk about it,” Mero said. “You can’t just sugarcoat this and just think it’s gonna go away. We have to understand why are kids feeling so, so depressed? Why are kids feeling so alone? Why do they feel like they can’t talk to anybody about it? And because most of the kids that end their life, you know, the parents will often say ‘If I only knew. If he or she only talked to me about it.’ That’s what’s really heartbreaking about this is that we’ve got to talk about this.”

That desire to have kids feel like they can open up about their struggles is one of the reasons Mero wanted to have a community event along with addressing the students in school.

“It’s so important (for parents to hear), especially with a wonderful community like this,” Mero said. “We’ve just got to bring more awareness to the tragedies that have happened. It’s important that the parent understands that they have to have communication. I mean, our smartphone has outsmarted us. We don’t often have meals with our kids anymore, and everybody goes in different directions. We’ve got to bring back that family dynamic. It’s so important. I can’t stress that enough.”

Though he touched on a number of heavy topics, including his own battles with drug addiction and the tragic loss of family members, Mero’s story is one that can inspire hope as well.

“My story is one of tragedy and triumph. A story of hope,” Mero said.

Speaking in front of junior high and high school students is dramatically different than performing moonsaults (or Merosaults) for arenas full of screaming fans, but Mero said the reaction he receives from students he’s inspired is far more rewarding.

“I never enjoyed anything like this. I’ve never had that fulfillment,” Mero said. “I think the greatest thing about what I do is the feedback I get from students with social media. They direct message me and are really able to share with me and that’s where we can really make a difference. And get kids into counseling or get the kids help they need, especially if you’re talking about ending their life or self harm.”

Mero left the audience with something to think about in their view on the world.

“We are defined by our choices,” he said. “But you never have more power than the power you give yourself when you believe in you.”