By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
Yes We Can
For the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview Jason David Frank, best known as the Green and White Rangers of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers television show. He made two appearances at Corsicana’s own Oiltown Comics, and even with long lines and longer hours, he stayed to talk to and share stories with each and every fan.
I had the chance to interview Jason twice. His handler had given me his cell phone number, and we sat and talked about the nature of his show. He shared stories from the multiple iterations of Power Rangers he starred and cameoed on (and there were several), his love of comics (so much so, he drove around during the height of the pandemic to try and help small comic book shops stay afloat during the height of social distancing). He talked about the movie he was working on (Legend of the White Dragon). And we talked about life. Some of that never made it to print, but I still have the recordings.
We talked during his first appearance at Oiltown. He really liked Corsicana. Some people say things like that just as a professional nicety, but he meant it. He was excited to be here. And he was excited to greet every single fan. He wanted to go beyond virtual meetings. He wanted to be there for them in person.
“There’s just nothing better than actually having the human connection to hear those stories,” Jason had said. “It hits my heart through the computer. I want people to feel my heart.”
I spoke with him again in 2021, once more visiting Oiltown. He really liked our local shop, and was happy to be back in town. He really appreciated the support he had gotten from the Navarro County Gazette, so he agreed to a video interview. Again, we had a chance to talk, and he was incredibly accommodating and enthusiastic to make sure I got good content and photos.
That was the last time I saw Jason.
I found out last night Jason had died by suicide yesterday. He was 49. The “how” of the matter isn’t important. The “why” may never truly come to light, though it was clear he had some struggles in his personal life this year. I sat on the story for hours before there was enough of an official confirmation to verify the story’s accuracy. I almost reported the information as a straightforward news post, but that didn’t feel right to do so.
I’m at at cross between disbelief, sadness, frustration, and flashes of anger at the news. But mostly, I just feel a deep sense of quiet. My mind flashes back to something he said during one of our interviews:
“I hear so many stories through the internet about how Power Rangers changed their lives,” he said. “From happy ones, to ones that say ‘Man, I almost committed suicide, but once I watched Power Rangers, I didn’t want to do that.’”
He was so passionate about finding ways to help other people. I didn’t want to simply just report the story of his passing. I mostly just wish he had found that inspiration he gave to others for himself.
Suicide is still so greatly stigmatized in our culture. It’s viewed as “weakness,” and “failure,” when it’s mostly people reaching their personal limits, and not seeing another clear direction to move themselves forward. They don’t see another option. I know because I struggled with that crossroads back in 2004, and in a moment of personal admission, it came close for me. But I found another option for myself.
The point of what I’m trying to say is there’s another option. There’s another direction. That answer doesn’t always make itself clear at the precise moment we really need it to happen, but that’s why you have to find and depend on your someone else to help you get to that next point, whether it’s a family member, or friend, or counselor, or teacher, or minister. Find someone. Let someone know. Because someone cares enough about you to not let you go.
If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at “988,” or text “GO” to “741741.”
A big THANK YOU to our supporters:
The Hull Creative Arts Foundation and the Lampier Family.
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