What a beautiful day at Walnut Beach for a 5K recovery walk! Mayor Ben Blake and Milford Board of Education member, Mike DeGrego, came out to support Carol Cruz, a member of the Milford Prevention Council and organizer of the R.E.A.C.H. OUT Project Recovery Walk fundraiser on Saturday, April 12th.
The purpose of the event was to launch the R.E.A.C.H OUT Project and bring awareness to the City of Milford, about the youth and families who are dealing with addiction and the need for more programs to provide education, resources and recovery support.
“I was completely overwhelmed with joy by the 50+ people who came out to support the recovery walk, Cruz stated.” As a person in long-term recovery from alcohol and drugs since 1994, it meant a lot to see Mayor Blake, Mike DeGrego and Pastor Fellenbaum from Wildermere Beach Congregational Church, interact and walk alongside the recovery community and families and friends who are dealing with the crisis of addiction”.
One of the most emotional points of the day was when a mother, who came with her two sisters, nephew and younger daughters, shared with Blake and Cruz the tragic story of how her older daughter died two years ago from a heroin overdose. "Mayor, something needs to be done," she said, "This is the dirty little secret in Milford and the blinders need to come off." She also quoted her daughter grew up in Milford, went to school here and loved to come to the beach; that’s why we’re here today to honor her.” The mother wished there were more events like this to support our kids who struggle with drugs.
"Her grief touched my heart," Cruz said, "and confirmed that as a community we need work together to change the way we look at the disease of addiction, remove the stigma and continue to develop more programs to help our youth sustain long-term recovery and to build healthier families.”
DeGrego shared on Cruz’s Facebook page, “I enjoyed meeting everyone I really did. Each Individual was part of the WHOLE> I retired from the Police Force and became a teacher. I wanted to help kids in school and steer them in the right direction. I saw firsthand the results of drug abuse by our youth. The once smiling faces of little elementary school children as I walked with them on school crossings to later see them at high school age having the life sucked out of them from drug abuse was very disheartening.”I commend you Carol for your dedication.”
The day ended with
new beginnings and a true sense of gratitude for the unity that was shown. More
funds than anticipated --
$727 -- were raised. Cruz added, “I know we can and will raise more, to continue the
development of the R.E.A.C.H. OUT Project ”But these funds will be used to pay
it forward for the viewing of the documentary film, "The Anonymous
People" on Saturday, May 3rd at Milford Hospital along with a
community conversation to follow.” The event is scheduled to begin at 10am and
lunch will be provided. Please RSVP Carol Cruz 203-507-4223 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to