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Community learns about bullying


Christopher Andersson

School Resource Officers Jeremy Wood, left, and Chris Sutherland talk at an anti-bullying community event on Feb. 23 at the Tulalip Resort Casino.

Former professional wrestler Mark Mero came to Marysville's middle schools and high schools last week to talk about bullying and drug abuse.

The retired wrestler is now a motivational speaker and spoke in front of Marysville School District students and to the Marysville and Tulalip community at a free community event on Feb. 23.

Before wrestling, Mero was an amateur boxing champion, winning multiple state titles in New York, however after a nose injury sidelined him for a year he began making "bad choices," he said.

"It was the first time in my life I had all this free time on my hands. I started making some really bad choices, life-changing bad," he said.

His friends at that time encouraged him to take drugs and party recklessly, he said.

Even though Mero told himself he would be back to boxing in a year, that time quickly got away from him and turned into "ten years of my life of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction."

When he was approximately 30, he stumbled across professional wrestling on his television though, and pursued it as a goal.

Not long after he was signed by the World Wrestling Federation.

"Alcohol and drugs come back with a vengeance, and not just those, but prescription pills. The only difference? I have all the money to buy anything I want," Mero said.

With fame and money he bought houses, boats and everything he wanted, said Mero, however "because of my bad choices, I lost it all."

The toughest part was all the friends lost, he said. During his talk Mero put up a list of 31 of his friends, mostly fellow wrestlers, who have passed away, most from drug overdoses.

"I did everything they did. Some nights I did more. I've overdosed three times," he said.

Mero encouraged people at the event to make positive choices, because addiction can make everything else "empty."

The former wrestler also talked about how he grew up in a poor neighborhood of New York being raised by a single mother.

"I'd often go to school, my pants were too short, the old shoe heels would come undone and I would try to tape it together," he said.

Mero said he would often be called "bum" by other kids. "I'd act like it didn't bother me, but I heard every word," he said.

"It's not so much about your circumstance, or your situation, it's how you respond to it. And for much of my life, I had a horrible response to adverse situations," he said.

Mero admitted to being a bully as well, to the people he could push around, like his little brother and sister or his mother.

"All she ever did was work two jobs, sacrificing, to give us a life, she didn't deserve that," he said.

He hoped that people took away a message to avoid being cruel and instead practice actual love for others.

Christopher Andersson

Former professional wrestler and motivational speaker Mark Mero talks at an anti-bullying community event on Feb. 23 at the Tulalip Resort Casino.

The motivational speaker was brought to Marysville's schools and to the community at large because of the work of two local School Resource Officers, Jeremy Wood and Chris Sutherland.

After returning from an anti-bullying conference they decided they wanted to do what they could to help.

"We wanted something that's real, raw and relevant, that you can take back and you can relate to," said Wood.

The two, who had seen Mero at the conference, decided to fundraise to help fund the speaker to come to Marysville and Tulalip.

"The Marysville and Tulalip community, and the business owners, were behind us 100 percent," said Wood.

More information about Mero and his nonprofit organization Champions of Choice is available at


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