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When news came last week of a traffic accident that claimed the life of Vicki Cottrell, a judge who had worked with her, best said what many people up and down the state were feeling: “I’ve been told all my life that there’s no irreplaceable human being. But Vicki Cottrell comes about as close to that as one can come.” (Judge Bill Bohling)
Since the shock of Cottrell’s sudden death and her funeral on Monday, the realization of what Utah has lost is beginning to set in. As the Executive Director of NAMI-Utah, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Cottrell worked tirelessly to dispel the stigma of mental illness. Her efforts on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers and opinion leaders about the realities of diseases of the brain resulted in meaningful legislation and societal advances in how those so afflicted are treated.
Beyond that, though, is the legacy of her personal involvement with the mentally ill and their families. That she would die while traveling to a distant community for yet another meeting with families learning to cope with a loved one’s illness, speaks volumes of her life of selfless service.
KSL joins the broader community in mourning the loss of Vicki Cottrell. Let her memory be perpetuated through ongoing dialogue and efforts to understand the issues she so effectively addressed.