Keep on keeping on.
Those were the words 24-year-old McHenry skateboarder Ryan Buss lived by. It’s the phrase he would come back to during hard times, and the same phrase that’s scrawled across the top of his urn, which is constructed of skateboards.
In the aftermath of Buss’ August 2017 suicide, “keep on keeping on” are the words his parents, Bob and Ann Buss, and brother, Joseph Buss, want everyone else to take to heart.
“Just keep moving forward,” Ann Buss said. “During adversity or bad times just keep moving forward, because that’s what he would want us to do.”
Friends and family gathered Sunday at Ryan Buss Zone Skate Park, 330 Knox Drive, McHenry, in memory of the Army veteran and competitive skateboarder. The event marked the second year of Buss Fest, an action sport and music festival to celebrate Ryan Buss’ life and raise awareness about suicide and substance abuse prevention. Groups including the nonprofit Live4Lali and Woodstock-based skate shop and outreach center Warp Corps, were present with fentanyl test strips and information about suicide prevention and opioid abuse.
“If somebody needs help, talk to them – your friend, enemy, it doesn’t matter,” Bob Buss said.
Ryan Buss struggled with depression, particularly after his time in the Army, where he spent 4½ years working as a firefighter and EMT. Last year, the skate park was dedicated in Ryan Buss’ name, and his dream of having lights installed around the park’s perimeter was fulfilled.
Ryan Buss’ best friend, Miles Canevello, was seated under the park sign with his best friend’s name on it Sunday as he looked on at the skate park.
“When we were growing up ... this is where we’d rather be,” Canevello said. “When night would fall, we’d get kicked out ... and now with the lights, you can stay later.”
Canevello flew from Arizona to attend Buss Fest. As he thought about his childhood friend, he remembered the ups and downs they went through together.
“Even though he’s not actually here with us physically, he still is great,” Canevello said. “Even us being here to celebrate and skate is bringing us together, and that’s so him in a weird way.”
For information about suicide prevention, visit www.mchenrycountyqpr.org. Anyone having thoughts of self-harm can call the McHenry County Crisis Line at 1-800-892-8900 or text or call the McHELP app.