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More than 500 people attended our Overdose Awareness event on Saturday, August 7. Partnering with Word Alive International Outreach church and TeeJay Wilson of Fresh Start Recovery Ministries, we celebrated the miracle of recovery while memorializing those who’ve lost the fight.

The event kicked off with a time of food and fellowship at 5 p.m. Those who attended enjoyed classic summer fare: hamburgers and hot dogs with chips.

To begin the service, the Esther House and Sober Life dance teams presented their collaboration of a dance called “Level Up.” Our Founder and Executive Director, Daniel Hughes, gave an inspirational message:

“Let’s look back on these things and let it produce something good in our lives. Let’s celebrate moments… It’s not by coincidence — it’s by design — it had to be God that you got these people in this room, taken out of such dark places and brought into the light and into a place of hope.”

TeeJay also encouraged us to do some reflection and not let lost lives be in vain. “The Word of God says, ‘All things work together for the good…'” he reminded us. Then, the Fresh Start Recovery men’s choir sang “Yes, I Will,” a song by Vertical Worship.

Following the choir, TeeJay presented Heather Norman. She and her family spoke about their son who overdosed four years ago on Fentanyl.

Her testimony was especially powerful in light of recent statistics that, according to the CDC, synthetic opioids are involved in about 3/4 of all overdose deaths. In light of Heather’s words, Sober-Life danced to Hillsong’s “Oceans,” and our Co-Founder and Executive Director, Colonie Hughes, commented on Heather’s story. “That testimony broke me. I know we all felt it,” she said.

Afterwards, Esther House dance presented another dance routine and the Fresh Start Recovery choir sang “What Your Mercy Did for Me” and “In The Father’s House.”

To close out the event, we had a beautiful lantern release as a memorial for loved ones who’ve passed.

The entire Overdose Awareness event was amazing, and we’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it a success! You can watch the event on Colonie’s Facebook page. Please enjoy some highlights from this event captured in photos.


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