‘Suicide Awareness Bus’ catches fire during cross-country trip

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FARMINGTON, N.M. — Back in July, we told you about a New Mexico man whose life was forever changed by suicide. So he and his wife left their old lives behind to travel across the country in a school bus that was not only their home, but a memorial for loved ones lost by suicide.

Since KOB 4 last spoke with them during their stop in Farmington, there has been an unfortunate turn of events that has forced the couple to start over.

“The tour was all about mental health, providing a different way for everybody to grieve,” said Cory Richez. “To give a place for people to be able to mark loved ones, helping them relieve a little bit of that weight knowing that those loved ones were going around the country as a voice.”

Richez and his wife, Kelly Logan, traveled just shy of 50,000 miles in 16 months. However, not too long after they left the Four Corners, their lives took a drastic turn.

“So while in motion on the 101 in Washington, going south, right below Bay Center near Nemah, the rear brakes caught on fire,” Richez said. “By the time we were able to find a safe place to pull off, the bus was in flames. It went up so quick that we barely got ourselves, our dogs and the passengers off of that vehicle.”

It left them no time to save anything.

“Heartbreak, not just for ourselves but for all of the people that have lost a loved one and added a trinket or some ashes or even a name to the bus,” Logan said.

“It wasn’t just a devastation that we endured — it was those miles, 7 days a week, all the way around this whole country, the people that came up and shared their stories of their loved ones,” Richez said.

But this isn’t the end of the road.

“An amazing organization in Texas, Texas Strong, that gives away tiny homes, 5th wheels, RV’s to homeless veterans, has reached out to us and they have a bus that is similar to the bus that we lost,” Richez said.

And they won’t be getting just one bus donated to them — but two.

“We also had people reach out to us from Jerome, Arizona, which we were there yesterday, they gifted us a bus,” Richez said.

While the fire may have stolen those memories and their home, it didn’t break their spirit.