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A Day Of Hope in Wheeling

Advocates March For Substance Abuse Recovery

Photo by Scott McCloskey More than two dozen people gathered in front of the Wheeling City-County Building at 15th and Chapline Streets Saturday, before participating in the Wheeling Day of Hope March.

WHEELING — More than two dozen people turned out to participate in the Wheeling Day of Hope March in Wheeling Saturday.

Prior to the march, which was part of a statewide initiative to bring faith communities together to promote, educate and advocate for substance abuse recovery and prevention. participants gathered near the front steps of the Wheeling City-County Building at 15th and Chapline Streets.

The Rev. Joel Richter, pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Rabbi Joshua Lief with Temple Shalom, led the group in prayer before marching north along Chapline Street to the Fourth Street United Methodist Church, which sponsored an interfaith service following the march. Several residents of Miracles Blossom recovery home, of Beech Bottom, also participated in Saturday’s events.

Bethany Goddard, substance abuse prevention coordinator with Youth Services System in Wheeling, said participants turned out to celebrate the Day of Hope, which recognizes those who are in substance abuse recovery and recognizes the community and its prevention efforts and support for those who are in recovery.

Goddard said the march is an extremely important event which is supportive to the over-all mission to help conquer the substance abuse crisis.

Rabbi Lief said all faith communities know the impact of the opioid crisis in the Ohio Valley, and West Virginia Day of Hope is about all of us as as a community dealing with the reality of substance abuse addiction in our communities.

“It affects everyone — whether it’s you, the individual, that’s struggling with addiction, or a family member, or friends, or even total strangers, because the impact on our community is profound,” Lief said. “If we can remove the stigma — that certainly exists around addiction issues — so that people would seek help and not be afraid to try to get into recovery, and we can furthermore support those who are making efforts to be in recovery — then it benefits everyone across our whole community.

“All of want to see help for those who are in need,” he said.

Wheeling Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday, who also participated in the march, emphasized the need for a team effort to battle the addiction problems that afflict so many in the area.

“It’s important for our entire community to come together regarding issues of prevention and in support of folks who are seeking treatment and recovery and also for those who haven’t yet taken that step but they know that we’re a community that loves and supports the folks that live here,” Scatterday said.

She added that it’s important that people understand that “togetherness is the champion of hope.”

Saturday’s events were the continued collaboration of the Community Impact Coalition & West Virginia Council of Churches. The Day of Hope is typically celebrated the third weekend in September. September is recognized nationally as Recovery Month. Youth Services System is the fiscal and administrative agent of the Community Impact Coalition.

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