Annual vigil remembers those lost to drug abuse

Published: Jan. 10, 2020 at 10:15 PM AKST
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Two hundred seventy two names read. Two hundred seventy two people remembered at a vigil, Friday night, that began with one name: Kellsie Green.

“Four years ago tonight, I got a knock on the door. That trooper telling me my daughter had died in the Anchorage Correctional Complex,” said John Green, Kellsie Green’s father. “She was in there, she died from detoxing from heroin."

Every year since that fateful night, Green has organized a vigil to remember his daughter, and the many other victims of drug abuse.

It was a night to remember, to mourn, and to hope for those still here.

“There's hope,” said Denali Borchardt, Kellsie’s cellmate at the time of her death, and someone now recovering from addiction. “And not just like a little bit of hope, but there's so much hope. That life can become so good, and it can turn into such a beautiful story."

And to remind ourselves that those who suffer from addiction, are still people.

“We read the names because it's important,” Green said. “You know, if you say somebody's name, it means they mattered."

People with hopes, dreams, and most importantly, others who care about them.

“There are so many people in this room that I knew when you were using, and you scared me, because I thought we were going to lose you," said Michelle Overstreet, Executive Director of MyHouse.

Finally, it was a night for the recovery community to come together, and support each other.

“You people have been there for me, since the very beginning of this thing,” Green said to the gathered crowd. “When I didn't know what I was going to do."

And hope for a better tomorrow.

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