On behalf of the New Canaan Parent Support Group, I thank the people of our town for uniting together during the first-ever Overdose Awareness Day & Vigil on Aug. 31 in downtown New Canaan. It was great to have over double the expected turnout at around 600. We ran out of candles!
This event had three goals: 1) to honor and remember those who died too soon; and 2) to come together as a community to openly discuss addiction and mental health; and 3) learn how we can all help others to heal.
The only reason an event like this could be successful, is through the efforts of our Hosts, our sponsors, a hard-working Event Committee (Team Orange), our speakers, and clergy from across all local faiths.
Before even starting, I need to call out Evan Reinhardt whose memory of caring, empathy and humor inspired the vision for this event.
Thanks to all, as it was a true collaboration of people united to end the scourge of addiction and overdose. See listings below:
- Hosts: New Canaan Parent Support Group and New Canaan Community Foundation
- Sponsors: Bankwell, Communities4Action, Exchange Club of New Canaan, Lions Club of New Canaan, Mountainside Treatment Center, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, New Canaan Clergy Association, New Canaan Community YMCA, New Canaan Pop Up Park Committee, Newport Academy, Ram Council, Silver Hill Hospital, the harris project, Town of New Canaan.
- Speakers: John Hamilton (MC), Paul Reinhardt, PJ Reinemann, Kera Townshend, Stephanie Marquesano
- Clergy: St. Mark’s—Martha Klein Larsen, Peter Walsh, Justin Crisp; St. Aloysius—Rob Kinnally, Bill Santulli; United Methodist—Eric Fjeldal, Matt Hubbard; Congregational Church—Chapin Garner, Morgan Flagg, Kelly Leather; Church of Christ, Scientist—Barbara Jeffries; First Presbyterian—Kibbie Laird; Grace Community Church—Cliffe Knechtle; St. Michael’s—Derrick Fallon; Temple Sinai—Jay TelRav; Waveny Care Center—Tom Lilly
- Team Orange: Alison Bedula, Cyra Borsy, Ellen Brezovsky, Kathy Brown, Robert Curry, Stephanie Dalia, Nick deSpoelberch, Jackie D’Louhy, Lucy French, Ingrid Gillespie, Jeff Holland, Kim Hyde, Nicki Jezairian, Leo Karl, JoAnne Kennedy, Karin King, Diane Knetzger, Lance Minor, Tucker Murphy, Chris Otis, Lauren Patterson, Thea Ross, Joyce Sixsmith, and Jenny Urbahn
Finally, a special thanks to: Steve Benko, Tom Stadler, Lt. Jason Ferraro and the New Canaan Police Department; Steve Orteig and CERT; Mose Saccary of the Highway Department; the staff at St. Mark’s Church; the musical contributions from Quiet Giant featuring Matt Vitti, and guitarist Tom Larsen.
Paul Reinhardt, Founder, New Canaan Parent Support Group