May 31, 2016

One Too Many

A few months back, Jack DiZillo '16 approached Mr. Mailloux '72 about hosting a candlelight vigil to show support for those suffering from the plague of drug addiction here in Manchester.  Mr. Mailloux was happy to support his effort and over the past month or so, a group of us helped Jack get this off the ground.

 The vigil, called One Too Many - a Vigil for Hope, took place last Thursday night.  We gathered on the front lawn of Trinity and Jack passed out free t-shirts to participants (he got the shirts donated).  Each person also took a candle and we processed up Bridge Street to the gazebo at Derryfield Park, across the street from Trinity.  We had a series of speakers, including Bishop Libasci who offered the opening prayer and final blessing, Mayor Gatsas, Manchester Police Lt. Brian O'Keefe, and Kriss Blevens, the founder of Amber's Place.  The vigil concluded with a beautiful rendition of "We Shall Overcome" by Vicki Fatuski '16.  Jack and his mother Terri also started a Go Fund Me page to benefit Hope for New Hampshire Recovery if you wish to help them out.

Bishop Libasci with the Blevens

Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Welter P'18, we also coordinated a food drive to benefit Amber's Place.  Amber's Place was started by Mrs. Blevens after her step-daughter Amber died of a heroin overdose here in Manchester.  Amber's Place, located on Central Street, is a place for those who suffer from addiction to seek help and they are affiliated with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, a similar organization here in Manchester.  I asked all of the theology teachers to have our students read this article on Mrs. Blevens and her efforts, especially with educating presidential candidates about heroin addiction as she prepared their make-up for TV interviews.

Mrs. Welter, her son Justin '18, and I brought the food over to Amber's Place this morning and one young man helped us bring the items in from the car.  When he came in, he was told by one of the workers that he cannot go outside without a staff member and that he should just bring the food to the kitchen.  This was a stark reminder of the dangers of drugs, it just takes one slip-up.

I have been calling heroin a modern-day plague here in Manchester and I hope we can do more to help organizations like Amber's Place next year.  Do stay tuned.

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