Clarion hosts ‘Recovery Respects First Responders'

By Randy Bartley

Staff Writer

CLARION

Most people never save a life but John Greenway of Clarion Hospital EMS has done it more than 30 times.

Greenway is a first responder and has used Naloxone (Narcan), to revive people who have overdosed. Naloxone is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially decreased breathing in an overdose.

Greenway was recognized by the Armstrong, Clarion, Indiana Drug and Alcohol Commission at the "Recovery Respects First Responders" event at the Clarion County Veterans Park Sept. 8.

Also honored were two first responders from the Shaler-Hampton EMS.

Thera Murray has saved four people from an overdose and Bridgette Murray has also saved four lives.

Both were presented their award from someone they had saved.

The Recovery Champion Award was presented to Clarion County Coroner Randall Stom and state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-63) for their efforts to make Clarion County who "a better place to live and to make sure that there are opportunities for individuals to find and achieve sustained recovery."

Stom has worked to increase awareness and provide support on the increased availability of Naloxone.

"I really appreciate this," said Stom. "Recovery is a journey. Everyone's journey is a little bit different. Some of us have had speed bumps that we turn into stepping-stones. The key is that there is hope.

"There are ways, there are people, there are devices, and there are all kinds of ways that we can survive. I am grateful that we have those people around us. Never lose sight of the opportunities that are out there for each and every one of us."

Oberlander was recognized for her commitment to the recovery community. She completed a course at Clarion University to become a Certified Opioid Treatment Specialist.

"I am humbled to receive this award," said Oberlander who sat on the ACIDAC board when she was a county commissioner. "Like many of you I have had to deal with friends or family members who have had addiction in their lives.

"I always wanted to help but it was not until I took the Opioid Treatment Specialist program that I started to feel the empathy that I think is really key to the whole thing.

"You need to understand that it is a disease and that there are things that can be done. Naloxone is one of those things."

"Why do we spend money on Naloxone? Because you are worth it. During the last few years of my addiction, I was in a position where I could meet the ACIDAC," said Dustin Parsons. "They helped me get a lot of resources."

Parsons said his recovery was not that easy because he still had to deal with issues in his past. After he attended rehab he changed his life and his studying to be a licensed professional counselor.

"I want to give back to the community," he said. "I try to convince other people that there is a way out of this."

Clarion County Commissioner Wayne Brosius sits on the six-member local board of the ACIDAC.

"The commission provides both preventative and recovery programs," he said. "Of course the goal to prevent drug abuse, alcohol abuse or opioid abuse."

Brosius said the ACIDAC is a separate board that is governed by the directors. There are 25 employees employed by the ACIDAC.

Brosius said additional information may be obtained by calling the Clarion office at 814-226-6350.