The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming are honoring a Casper couple at their 24th Annual Awards & Recognition Breakfast.

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Brad and Jan Cundy's lives changed forever when their son, Matthew, committed suicide in 2011.

When you are faced with a tragedy, you have two options: One, you can live with that hurt. You can let it define you and destroy you and control you. Or, you can do what Brad, Jan, and their children did - you can use the hurt that you've experienced to help make the world around you better. It's what Batman did. It's what Spider-Man did.

It's what heroes do.

And it's exactly what the Cundy's did. Brad and Jan's daughter, Dawn, started the Mattie Project.

"After her brother, Matt Cundy, committed suicide in November 2011 at the age of 27, Dawn Cundy knew she had to do something to try and prevent suicide in Wyoming," a description of the nonprofit organization reads. "The pair grew up in Gillette and moved to Casper when they were in their 20s. Matt suffered from depression and was ashamed and embarrassed of reaching out for help as many Wyoming citizens are.

"Dawn continues to share her story and struggles of losing her brother to suicide, and the effect it has had on her life and the guilt she continues to carry from having been the one her brother confided in and the secret she will forever wish she hadn't kept. Dawn continues to fight against the stigma of suicide and the struggles that so many across our communities face and often keep a secret."

The Mattie Project was created to help prevent suicide in Wyoming. But it was also created to address mental health and the fact that asking for help should not be an embarrassment.

But that's not all. Brad and Jan also helped create the Wyoming chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

"Jan and Dawn gave presentations and became QPR Suicide Gatekeepers," the Boys & Girls Clubs website stated. "The Cundy family donated to Casper College for the Matthew Robert Cundy Campus Wellness Center which began a 24-hour mental health counseling."

In the midst of rising above their own tragedy, Brad and Jan have started multiple companies, including Cundy Asphalt Paving Construction, Inc. and a "thriving business venture under the Keyhole Brand."

A press release from the Boys & Girls Clubs stated that "Keyhole and Uncorked have benefitted Casper non-profits with well over half-a-million dollars raised to support these important causes. Brad’s favorite saying is Jan gives with her time and he gives with his checkbook."

Jan is a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs and Brad is quite active in Rotary. Together, the high school sweethearts have raised three children and have four grandchildren.

"Brad and Jan Cundy have built thriving businesses and given extensively to Casper and outlying communities," the release noted. "Their dedication to making a positive impact on children is one of the reasons that Brad and Jan Cundy are named the honorees of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming’s 24th Annual Awards & Recognition Breakfast."

In addition to the Cundy's, Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson will be on hand to deliver the keynote address. Robertson is the CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander, which led to his starring role in the A&E series.

"Robertson has expanded his family companies, from a living room operation to a multi-million-dollar enterprise and destination for all things outdoors," the release stated. "The husband to Korie Robertson and father of six, Robertson’s story is a remarkable example of entrepreneurship and dedication built on faith, family, and hard work."

According to the press release, the Awards and Recognition Breakfast is "the culmination of the Annual Giving Campaign to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming. Contributions in this campaign will help the Club reach a $1.55 million, two-year fundraising goal to support its $4.6 million budget."

It is sure to be a memorable morning, and certainly Willie Robertson will be an incredible guest. But it's Brad and Jan who are the real stars of the show, because they exemplify everything that the Boys & Girls Clubs teaches to its young people: grace, strength, heart, courage, empathy...and hope.

Maybe, more than anything, hope is what Brad and Jan Cundy represent. Because when their son died, they could have lost hope. They could have given up. They could have let their grief consume them. But they didn't do that. They took the sourest lemon that life has to offer, and turned it into something resembling lemonade.

More than that, they made a pledge to their son, to their boy. They told him "This is not the end of your story. This is not the end of our story. You are going to save lives."

And that's exactly what he's done. That's exactly what they've done. And that's why the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming are proud to honor the Cundy's at their 24th Annual Awards & Recognition Breakfast.

Reservations for the event can be made by visiting the Boys & Girls Clubs website, or by calling 307-235-4079. Table sponsors will receive an autographed copy of 'American Entrepreneur," WIlie Robertson's book.

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