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Voices of Recovery comes to Marion

by Scott Fleener , ctreport@indy.rr.com

Local drug recovery advocates Shane Beal and Bill Reece hope their September event will bring people closer and break the stigma of drug addiction and recovery.

The program, called Voices of Recovery, will take place Sep. 21 at 11 a.m. begining at Sender Wellness of Marion with a “recovery walk” along the river. At noon, a festival will start with vendors, music, face painting and other activities. The event is scheduled to end around 5 p.m., but Beal said they will keep going if there are a lot of people.

This will be the first Voices of Recovery event in Grant County. Wabash and Huntington counties have both held these programs, where people who have fought and battled addiction share their stories with the public to raise awareness for mental health and drug addiction issues. 

Beal said the Grant County event will be fun and is for everyone, not just for those who are in recovery.

“It’s kind of like a mini-music festival,” Reece said.

The event will be held to raise money for the Hope House, a sober living home that Beal and Reece plan to open in October in Marion.

Beal said they hope to raise $35,000. He said they are already more than halfway to their goal.

“In between music, we’ll have testimonials from a local guy named John Humphries,” Beal said.

He said Andrea and Denise Case, whose family member went through recovery, will present their story since they have a “unique perspective on recovery and what it takes."

More speakers are scheduled to address the crowd with their stories.

He said it will be very similar to last year's event but that it will have more bands, be outdoors and have many more sponsorships. Last year about 800 people came, and Beal hopes the new location will encourage more people to show up.

“I think there is a dual focus for this year,” Reece said. “We need to continue to build as much support within the community itself, but we also need to not only begin to transform the lives of those in recovery but transform the perspective and opinion of people in the community towards the people in recovery.”

Beal said when he asks people if the know anyone who struggles with addiction almost everyone says they do.

Beal said businesses who want to be sponsors and be included on t-shirts, banners and flyers need to contact Beal by labor day.

He said he hopes the event transforms the community and the way people see each other. If people agree that they are all in it together, he says things will get better.