EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The parents of Joe Luginbill have released a statement about their son after groups working out of the State Theatre say they were forced to leave and the project lead at the Smile House says that it is now closed. As well as his resignation from the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board.
The statement says, "Dear Eau Claire friends and neighbors,
We write to give you an update on the news of our son Joe. The recent closure of the State Theater and Smile House have created a lot of questions, confusion and hurt in our community.
In recent months we became worried that Joe had taken on too many things. His passion to support children in need, to advocate for better living conditions for young adults, to fight for a fairer and more just society for the LGBTQ+ community- had become unsustainable. As the months slipped by, and now in hindsight it is clearer, he was withdrawing in the face of being overwhelmed. Unfortunately, Joe was not communicating these challenges with his closest friends, his work and professional colleagues, or his family. Many were blindsided.
We have and continue to love our son and have been in touch with him. We are deeply worried for his safety and his health. There are a lot of questions we are still seeking answers to. We stand with him to seek support needed to go through whatever may lie ahead and we are thankful to everyone who has reached out in these challenging times to share your concern for his well-being.
Many of you have known our family for years. You know Joe’s commitment to serve, to help lift up other people, to share his heart or his hand with a friend in need. As parents we feel proud of the positive change Joe has contributed to Eau Claire in so many ways. We are also saddened to know that his sudden departure has let many people down and broke the trust many people had in him.
We understand people need to process their experiences, and at the same time, we ask everyone to remember in our tight-knit community, that we are parents, siblings, family, and friends, not a high-profile national family. We shop, worship, work, and go to school alongside a community we dearly love. We are trying to figure this out too, and ask that you give our family the space we need that any family would need during a trying circumstance.
Thank you for your understanding, patience and grace in this difficult time.
Dennis and Teresa Luginbill"