It was a time to remember those lost and encourage those still in the battle against addiction during SAAD's third annual National Overdose Awareness Day event on Saturday evening, Aug. 31, on Lincoln Plaza in downtown Hillsboro.
The event culminated in a candlelight vigil walk around the Historic Courthouse in memory of those lost to addiction.
"I lost my mother in 2005 to an overdose," Matt from St. Louis said, "and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her." He is recovering at Continuing Recovery Center in Irving, and said he has a sister in detox.
He was one of many to share stories of loss and stories of recovery, including Jason Kelly of Manifest Mercy, Ben and Taylor, both in recovery, and Tim who came with a large group from Bond County in memory of Eli Randall, a 21-year-old who died in Pocahontas on May 19.
"If you have a story to tell, you have to share it," Tim said, encouraging his listeners to be like the mortar that holds the brick wall behind him together.
One speaker, who said she is recovering from an addiction rooted in a "screwed up childhood," also lost her son to an overdose. He was self-medicating to battle mental illness, she said.
The stage behind the speakers was lined with photos and candles in memory of those lost to addiction.
SAAD stands for Stand Against Addiction and Drugs and was founded by Pam Scott.
"We need volunteers," Scott said. She and SAAD vice president Julie Jones thanked Rod Best of the Litchfield Moose and Dan White of Carpenters Local 270 for donations. Chris Hubbart of Hubbart Wood donated a carved ribbon to be raffled.
Both SAAD and Chestnut Health Systems hosted booths at the event. Scott is now a recovery coach at Chestnut Health Systems.