Addiction is a sickness many are well aware of in Portsmouth, either personally or on the street, and a group of local do-gooders are stepping up to present options out of that cycle, while also bringing awareness to suicide.
The group, Whatever It Takes, is ready to present the second annual Overdose and Suicide Awareness Walk in Tracy Park this September 10th.
The event is being organized by Whatever It Take’s founder, Chad Morris, and the event will run noon to 4:30 p.m.
The event will feature not only a walk, but live performances and speaking arrangements. Joe Nester will be performing, and Daniel Ritchie, Kyle Overmyer, Kevin Clausing, Andrew Hager, Greg McClintic, and Chad Morris will all be featured presenters.
Nester is a singer/songwriter and guitarist who performs and tells the story of his recovery.
“He wrote his first song when he was locked up in prison. He’s a family man and is currently following his dreams; it is really inspirational to see someone on the brink of stardom still giving back to communities,” Morris said.
According to Morris, Nester is from Daytona, Florida and he travels to speak and perform. They met at a conference and became friends last year.
“He is just a really humble guy who knows what his music means to people, so he loves giving back,” Morris said. “He knows that people in recovery really respond to him.”
Outside of Nester, Morris has a group of guys speaking who he believes will resonate with the public. Everyone, outside of Clausing, has gone through recovery themselves.
“They’ve got power and testimony,” Morris said. “They have so much natural desire to give back and use their voice with a great message. That’s why the event isn’t very long. They have 15-20 minute slots and they are coming in and presenting hope.”
The group is widely talented and experienced, ranging from church-minded presenters to a recovered former MMA fighter.
“I want to change one mind,” Morris said. “You know, a lot of people are about the spotlight, and they want people looking at them. That is something I’ve been humbled by in our vision. They aren’t looking for the spotlight, it is about the one person in the crowd they want to plant a seed for and give lasting recovery for. We want to give hope, touch one life, and make someone think ‘I wanna be up there one day.’”
The event is a combination of not just recovery, but also suicide awareness, which Morris says felt like a natural fit.
“My father committed suicide when I was five and my mother died of a drug overdose on my 9-month clean date,” Morris explained. “So, me going through my whole life with suicide being an option when I was down and out, before I even started using drugs, it really turned into that mental ‘I don’t want to be here’ later on and drugs were that outlet. I’ve asked questions at all of our meetings and really got to the bottom of these tragic things that have happened to people, including myself, and I want people to know there are resources out there.”
The event will be kid friendly, feature food vendors onsite, have door prizes, t-shirts for purchase, and free Narcan.
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