for Cecil County, a recovery advocacy group that organized the event.
“They stopped to ask us for help,” he recalled. “We got her into rehab.”
She now has almost a year of sobriety, he added.
Voices of Hope supporters are looking for that same kind of success and more after the second “Human Rope” event was held Saturday. Dozens of people, many wearing “Heroin Kills” shirts, gathered along Route 40 to wave signs in an effort to raise awareness about addiction. While a similar event has been held in Harford County for years, Voice of Hope started the event in Cecil County for the first time last year.
In addition to raising awareness, Raftery said Voices of Hope is working to close cracks in the system that make getting help harder for those in the throes of addiction.
“We’re connecting with the community, educating the addict and helping the families affected by this disease,” he said, adding addiction is not a moral deficiency. “It can never be cured, but it can be arrested.”
Raftery said one of the most ambitious goals for Voices of Hope is to establish a community resource center.
“This is where addicts and their families can get the help they need,” he said.
James Wilson was pleased to participate in Saturday’s event.
“I’ve been a Narcotics Anonymous member for 14 years,” Wilson said. “I’ve relapsed, but I have had clean times. I keep coming back. It’s about others. It’s not about me.”
For Wilson, his success is connected to his faith.
“God believes in you. You should believe in Him,” Wilson said. “If He didn’t believe in you, you wouldn’t be here.”
Lisa Smith with On Our Own, a mental health support system with offices in Elkton, gave her own spiritual take on addiction.
“Addiction is the devil’s work,” Smith said.
Britney Wagner, meanwhile, urged addicts to get help.
“People in recovery share with each other,” Wagner, from Elkton, said. “There’s no reason to hide. If you want help, there are resources.”
For Erin Woodie, it was a day to be happy.
“I’m excited,” the Elkton woman said as she danced with a sign in her hands. “(Recovery) works. It saves people’s lives.”
Woodie also said the public needs to understand the struggles of addiction and getting clean.
“Not enough people know about this way of life,” she said.
While Woodie stood along Route 40 Saturday and loudly called attention to her sign, attracting honks and waves from passing motorists, one of the youngest sign bearers was subdued.
Peyton Ohrt, 8, stood quietly, holding a “Human Rope to Stop the Dope” sign and waving. Ohrt lost his father to addiction.
James Ables, the Rising Sun man who helped bring the event from Harford into Cecil County, said this year’s event had twice the number of sign holders, indicating to him that the word is getting out and support is growing.
Elkton Police Chief Matt Donnelly agreed.
“This is helping to bring awareness to the issue,” he said, adding that the problem isn’t unique to Elkton. “It’s bad throughout the county. Organizations and events like these we have here today are important to the issue and to also support those in recovery.”
Nathan Hodge, from North East, said he has lost too many friends to addiction. That’s why he took part in the “Human Rope to Stop the Dope” event Saturday in Elkton.
Peyton Ohrt, 8, lost his father to addiction. The Elkton boy was the youngest standing along Route 40 Saturday morning participating in the “Human Rope to Stop the Dope” event hosted by Voices of Hope.