Those stories of hope came at the Community Coalition for Opiate Relief Efforts’ first EMS Recognition Dinner on Thursday evening.
“It was amazing. I really never thought I would get to meet them,” Bellefontaine resident Rick Anderson said of his encounter with three of the members of the Bellefontaine Fire and EMS Department’s A shift.
Anderson shared his story in front of the audience and when the squad members heard he was the one who overdosed during the Super Bowl they knew they were the ones who responded and administered the overdose reversal drug.
“It’s a great feeling because normally you don’t get to see the end result,” firefighter Doug Hager said. “Usually we take them to the hospital and drop them off and that’s the last we hear about them.”
“It kind of gives you a little rejuvenation to be part of something like this,” firefighter Randy McColloch said after learning that Anderson has been clean and sober since that day, Feb. 9.
A 37-year-old Indian Lake mother, Jennifer Monroe, also shared her story and said her 18-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son would have had to grow up without a mother if not for the response of an Indian Lake squad during her overdose of 2015. She shared that she has been sober 228 days through local sober support groups and the Logan County Common Pleas Court’s Adult Recovery Court.
A litany of other speakers, including CORE co-chair Tammy Nicholl; judges Kim Kellogg-Martin, Ann E. Beck and William T. Goslee; Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley; and Logan County Sheriff Randy Dodds also addressed the group and thanked the first responders for going into unknown situations and saving lives even when it may seem like a lost cause.
“At times, it truly can seem like a thankless job, and it can make you question your own sanity,” Nicholl said. “But then there are times when something happens, someone notices, someone thanks you and you feel validated and appreciated enough to gear up for the next disaster. And you can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Judge Goslee, who now oversees the Adult Recovery Court and the recovering addicts it serves, said while working as Logan County Prosecutor he posed a public policy question to a nine-person grand jury on whether taxpayer money should be used to provide Narcan shots to drug addicts.
While the initial vote was 7-2 in favor of letting the addicts “go meet their maker,” by the end of a discussion, “all nine would have thanked you for doing what you do,” Goslee told the paramedics and EMTs.
The event concluded with a group prayer, in which nine local pastors formed a circle and recited the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and then all assembled united in a Prayer for Safety.
Local pastors pray for first responders and police officers at the conclusion of the event.
“Such a huge part of recovery is finding a faith in a higher power; that is why we wanted to close with this,” emcee Ross Cunningham of the Recovery Zone told the first responders and law enforcement officials present. “Faith, spirituality and finding a higher power is important in recovery, but it is also important in the work you do saving lives.”
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Articles and stories that reflect and highlight the work of the Logan County Joint Drug Task Force and other local organizations.