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We Will Recover: Group spreads message of hope

While Thunder in the Valley wrapped up Sunday, a community group called We Will Recover hosted a program to enjoy the city without drugs or alcohol. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN -- While Thunder in the Valley wrapped up Sunday, a community group called We Will Recover hosted a program to enjoy the city without drugs or alcohol.

It happened behind the Twin Lakes Center’s downtown Johnstown office.

The event, called "We Will Recover in the Valley 2017," was sponsored by the Twin Lakes Center and Somerset Hospital.

Some live music, free food and a message of hope were offered to those who might be struggling with addiction and those in recovery.

"Our message is very simple here: We will recover," organizer Justyn Patton said. "If we can save one person, possibly we save one family, and then ultimately we can save our community."

"We're here to do some more Narcan training, free food, music and advocates, people in recovery, trying to show that there is hope. It's not just all overdoses here in Johnstown,” Patton said.

"My last day of using, I overdosed in front of my 6-year-old. And he's here today. In front of my girl, and if I was alone, I wouldn't be here to talk to you today,” one man in recovery told the crowd.

Many shared their stories of recovery, but not everyone's is the same.

"We do recover. We will recover," Carmen Capozzi said.

Capozzi founded Sage's Army out of Westmoreland County, after his 20-year-old son died of a heroin overdose five years ago.

"To have events that are alcohol- (and) drug-free, is powerful,” Capozzi said. “And when you can share the story of hope with people, (it’s) powerful."

Eric Millinder says it can be a scary thing when those in recovery are used to drinking and using drugs to have fun.

"You know, when there's a big citywide celebration like this, we decided that it would be something good to have a sober event where people knew that they could come and have fun and stay sober at the same time," Millinder said.

And between the music and the free food, the bigger message is there is hope.

"We just need to break the stigma. We need to stop stigmatizing people, love them, and when they're ready, let's get them help," Capozzi said.

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