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Joan Becker: It Took A Prison Sentence To Get Mark the Help He Needed

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Courtesy of Joan Becker
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Joan and Dave Becker with their son Mark, who shot Aplington-Parkersburg head football coach Ed Thomas to death 5 years ago.

Five years ago, Mark Becker shot Aplington-Parkersburg head coach Ed Thomas. His mother, Joan, is now an advocate for mental health in Iowa. 

 She says now that Mark is in prison, he finally has the help he needs.

“It’s too bad it had to come to this,” she says. “As his mother, I wish I would have known more about this when he started to show symptoms, but it was so hard to get him the help he needed."

None of his care providers worked together; we were outside the loop.

Joan is speaking tonight at Ankeny United Methodist Church where the congregation’s leadership has recently started a mental health ministry. Pat George, Co-Director of the Mental Health Ministries at Ankeny United Methodist, says there’s a need for faith based groups to start working together and raising awareness.

During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with George and with Joan, who shares how her family coped immediately after the tragedy and what they are trying to take away from it now. 

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer