On Saturday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m., an event called “CommUNITY” will be held to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic in Washington Court House.
The event will feature guest speaker Tim Ryan, a former addict who now works to save the lives of other addicts and to set them on the road to recovery. It will also feature raffles, a DJ, a bounce house, food, testimonies from individuals who are in recovery, and more. The event is free and open to the public, and all proceeds raised by raffles and sales will be donated to charities that help those affected by addiction. The location of the event has not yet been determined.
The event is being organized by Chad Gentry and Cody Bowen. Gentry grew up in Washington Court House and is now a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor in Portsmouth, Ohio. Bowen is a recovering addict who will celebrate one year of sobriety the day before the event.
Gentry said he was motivated to do something to help Washington C.H. because it is not the town he remembers from his childhood. He said he used to hear sirens and wonder “Who got hurt?” but he now wonders “Who overdosed?” He said this reality is “sad, but it’s true.” Gentry said his goal is to “turn Washington Court House into a recovery community. Washington Court House needs that.”
During the event, five scholarships for addiction treatment will be awarded. These scholarships will cover the treatment of individuals from the community who are struggling with addiction. Details on how recipients for these scholarships will be selected are still being finalized.
Representatives from various treatment centers will be available to “let people know that treatment is available and how to go about finding it,” according to Gentry.
Gentry said the event will also honor first responders and “give them the recognition they don’t get nearly enough of.”
Gentry said the event will feature “all kinds of different activities surrounded by recovery.” He added, “It’s gonna be an event that nobody wants to miss.” He said he has been amazed by “how many people want to be a part of this. We have not put a single penny into this event, it’s all by donation.”
Gentry said he expects hundreds of people to attend the event, but even “if one person shows up and it benefits them, it’s worth it.”
Gentry said he hopes the event will show those who are struggling with addiction that “We care, we want to help.” Gentry said “Nobody beats addiction alone,” which is why it’s important to show addicts that they will have support on their road to recovery. Gentry hopes the event will benefit many members of the community, but said “If we can save one person… then all this extra work we’re doing is worth it.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with the event, contact Gentry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124