Sunday, November 20, 2022

Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger: The Legacy of Jason David Frank

As I was about to settle in for a Sunday nap, I got a text from a friend that Jason David Frank, one of the original Power Rangers and one of my childhood heroes, died this weekend, reportedly from suicide. Normally celebrity deaths don't rock me too much (don't get me wrong, all their deaths are sad). However, I've met Jason David Frank and even after all these years he's still Tommy Oliver to me (even more since meeting him). 

He began his legacy in Power Rangers as the evil Green Ranger. After being freed from Rita's control, it wasn't long before he led the Ranger team as the White Ranger and later the Red Zeo and Turbo Rangers. But to those familiar with the franchise,  there's no  red to rehash his character's life story.

When I met JDF at Salt Lake FanX 2016, I was impressed by his love for his fans. He said he wanted the 100th person in line to feel just as important as the first. He's the standard to which I compare all celebrity meet and greet (Well, him and Catherine Tate). His legacy goes deeper than his long history as a Power Ranger. To many who treasure the franchise, he raised them when their parents were busy working or were otherwise unavailable. He taught kids to stand up for themselves and yet to still be kind. He taught how to be a leader and a mentor. It's strange to think there can be no more Tommy Oliver surprise appearances in the future of Power Rangers.

While still unconfirmed, it's rumored that he died by suicide. This pangs me even more… he gave to his fans and wanted them to feel special and important… yet he had internal anguish and pain that was never resolved. 

Suicide is very preventable cause of death… and men are four times as likely to die this way. I want to ask all men (and women) to step up. If you've contemplated or attempted suicide, I'm glad you're still here. If you are currently dealing with depressive, anxious, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. The world has already lost one hero this week, we don't need to lose you too. 

To Jason David Frank, Tommy Oliver will live on in the hearts of Ranger fans forever. Once a ranger, always a Ranger!

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