by Ashley Bouwense
The Freedom House Foundation and The George Gramby Observance Committee are teaming together to coordinate the first-annual Morris County Recovery Walk set for 9 a.m., Sat., Sept. 10 at Ginty Field.
“This recovery walk was not only formed to raise awareness for alcohol and drug addictions, but also to celebrate recovery,” Director of Freedom House’s Marketing and Development Dawn Knill said. “We want to show that there is hope and life after addition.”
Knill explained that there is a state-wide annual recovery walk, but people felt that there needed to be something local. So, volunteers and staff from Freedom House—a non-profit, residential treatment center for adult men—and members of the non-profit George Gramby Committee decided to collaborate on this local effort.
“We still see people with addiction afraid to say ‘I’m in recovery,’” said Knill. “because people still see addiction as a choice, not a disease. We hope the Recovery Walk will destigmatize addiction. The more we talk about it, the better off everyone will be.”
The Recovery Walk is a family-friendly event; all ages can participate. The walk is two-and-a-half miles long and is estimated to take 49 minutes. Participants will reach the finish line at George Gramby Memorial Park, where a celebration filled with music and refreshments. People are also encouraged to visit the addiction education recovery vendors.
Those in the Honor Guard, people who have been in recovery for 10 years or more, will lead the walk. They will be honored with sashes and buttons. Behind the Honor Guard will be the rest of those participating.
Freedom House and the George Gramby Committee are reaching out to town dignitaries to guest speak after the walk.
More than 700 substance abuse deaths were reported in N.J. alone in 2014, and those statistics do not account for unreported deaths. The Freedom House Foundation and The George Gramby Observance Committee are trying to reduce the number of addiction-related deaths through this Recovery Walk, but they also need the support from the community to make a difference.
“The only way we can be successful is if the community comes together as a whole,” Knill said.
Registration costs $10 for those 13-years or older and those ages six to 12 have a $5 registration fee. Those registering six-years-old and older will receive a Recovery Walk T-shirt. Children five-years-old and under can participate for free.
There is no limit to registration, but people should register early if they would like a t-shirt, as shirts are limited.
Participants are encouraged to be creative; they can bring banners and posters and wear home-made shirts, if they so choose.
Check in is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. People can register during check in time.
The rain date is schedule for Sun., Sept. 18, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Register for the walk online at www.grambyday.org or mail the registration form to The George Gramby Observance Committee, P.O. Box 135, Morristown, N.J. 07960.
For more information, contact Ann Banks at 973-960-2413 or firstname.lastname@example.org