Page 12 THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, September 8, 2023 The Bridge Recovery Center’s Overdose Awareness Vigil Event O Special to Th e Advocate n Thursday, August 31, the world honored those lost to substance use disorder as International Overdose Awareness Day events took place in countries around the world. Locally, in Malden, The Bridge Recovery Center, with support from their parent organization Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA) and from the City of Malden, held a vigil and walk that paid tribute to those who lost their lives. The walk also honored and celebrated those in recovery. The clear message of the night was one of hope, not despair. The evening started at The Bridge Recovery Center in Malden with emcee and MOA Vice President Dana Brown welcoming Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, then there were words of encouragement from The Bridge Director Tim Perry. Scheduled speakers Kenny and Chris then got up and told their heartfelt stories of loss of siblings, while also highlighting their recovery journey. City of Malden Addiction Recovery Resource Specialist/MOA Board President Paul Hammersley spoke emotionally about his journey and the weight of the collective losses of others on all of us. He then invited others to come forward for testimony. First Andrea and later Tim spoke of their pain and tragedy with the loss of a brother in one case, a brother, niece and best friend in another case. Andrea Tracey sang an inspirational and emotional rendition of Amazing Grace before the gathering marched to Malden’s City Hall, escorted by Malden Police. Once at City Hall, Nazarene Church Pastor and Warming Center Director Gerry Whetstone gave his own testimony of loss and then closed with prayer. Andrea Tracy sang “How Great Thou Art” before the large crowd gathered under the Bridge across Pleasant Street, which was illuminated in purple, the color used internationally to symbolize the event. The Bridge Recovery Center is located at 239 Commercial St. in Malden and runs programming seven days a week in support of those in recovery. For more information contact Director Tim Perry at tperry@maldenovercomingaddiction.org. The Bridge is operated by Malden Overcoming Addiction, Inc. through a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For more information about MOA and other local recovery programming in Malden, contact Paul Hammersley at 781-838-2203. Linda Cochran, Jacquelyn Driscoll Bell and Kenny Gumes getting ready for the event. Mayor Gary Christenson addresses the crowd. Director of The Bridge Recovery Center Tim Perry refl ects in the moment. MOA Vice President Dana Brown emcees the event. The Bridge Recovery Center Director Tim Perry says a few words. Lisa Hammersley with Andrea Tracey Julie Wilcox Turner signs a loved one’s name to the remembrance chair. Kenneth Gumes speaks his story. President of MOA Paul Hammersley remembers those lost to addiction. Chris shares part of his journey. Andrea shares a bit of her story. Andrea Tracey sings “Amazing Grace.” The Remembrance Chair Duran MacArthur embraced Linda Cochran before the vigil started. Bella Hammersley with Dana Brown. Everyone gathered for a photo outside of The Bridge Recovery Center.

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