The 6th annual Families of Addicts rally was held at the Courthouse Square. Their purpose was to eliminate the stigma associated with addiction and mental health disorders, educate on addiction and mental health issues and celebrate recovery.
During Sunday’s event, thousands of balloons were released in honor of those struggling with, recovering or lost from drug addiction.
But on the stage, a special question was popped as emcee Scotty Mays proposed to his girlfriend of three years Tara Moreno.
Mays says he and Moreno are very involved with the FOA Foundation. Mays is in long-term recovery and says he began his sobriety journey around the same time that he met Moreno.
“I’m totally different than who I used to be. People who knew the old me, I’m not that person anymore so this is the new life,” said Mays.
With two-thirds of American families touched by addiction, two are not alone. Hundreds of other people joined them for the rally despite the Gem City Shine event that was happening just down the street.
Event organizers said there were some restrictions on their event due to the benefit concert; however, they believe their event is just as important in the conversation about the tragic shooting.
“If the guy who did the shooting in the Oregon District would have received some of the services that are here today, it might have prevented that from happening,” said FOA Foundation executive director Anita Kitchen.
A total of 65 resources were available for the families and supporters to access in order to help with the recovery process. There was also a sense of community felt throughout the event.
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“I always felt like I was alone and like no one was going through what i went through,”: said Mindi Harris who struggled with addiction in the past but is now a volunteer with FOA. “But then you hear all these people and their stories and it’s like looking in a mirror. It’s crazy and we all have connections that way.”