MOA (Malden Overcoming Addiction) would like to thank everyone who participated in their Third Annual Candlelight Memorial Vigil on October 15, 2017. The event was held to honor the memory of those who have succumbed to death due to the disease of addiction with more than 203 individuals being remembered.

Speakers included State Senator Jason Lewis, Mayor Gary Christensen and Police Chief Kevin Molis, with many other state and local officials in attendance. Powerful speeches and stories were presented by a mother who lost her son to this horrific pandemic, Denise Caughey, and, Merri Cunniff who shared her devastating life story of addiction. And yet, within their painful outpourings, they outlined their path out of the devastation – one that was lined with hope, empowerment and commitment to joining the fight against this horrible disease. Finally, moving music was provided by Nick Hames during the event, but most poignantly at the culmination of the event while he played and sang Amazing Grace. The grief, sadness and suffering were palpable during the moving event with tissues being circulated continuously. And yet, there was also laughter and hugs as people connected and supported one another before, during and after the ceremony.

After a moving opening prayer delivered by Pastor Dan Ko, short speeches by our elected officials expressed their commitment and dedication to joining us in this fight to end addiction and stigma.

The most powerful time during the event was during the reading of the 200 plus names. As the names was read, Assistant Fire Chief Billy Sullivan rang the bell to honor and remember them, the emotion filled the courtyard and there was barely a dry eye present as we gave witness to the beautiful shining souls who are no longer with us.

MOA President Paul Hammersley then gave a passionate speech about the Bridge Recovery Center that MOA has been working towards recently. The Bridge Recovery Center would be a Peer-to-Peer Center that would be focused on prevention and support for individuals struggling with the disease of addiction. A resource that is not currently available locally but that would have the potential to save countless lives as this type of support has been found to be powerful and successful in the lives of those suffering.

The evening closed with a wide variety of resource tables being available for local organizations to provide information and support to those attending the event.

To learn more about MOA, the fight to end addiction and the stigma of addiction, please visit us at http://www.maldenovercomingaddiction.com/ and join the fight!