WASHINGTON, Beaufort County - While thousands are expected along the waterfront in Washington for a special event this weekend, there will also be a heavy focus on the current opioid crisis.
Organizers of Saturday's "Shine a Light" event plan to talk about the difficult subject and how it has impacted so many lives. Amy Ward, one of the event organizers, shared with us her own difficult struggle.
"It's really dark. You go to sleep crying, you wake up crying, you don't know how to function, I mean I have two other kids," Ward said.
Ward said she has no choice but to get it together. She misses her middle son, Tyler, who is in treatment and won't be home for the holidays. She is taking her message to the Washington community this weekend.
"I think people try to bury it like they don't want to talk about it still and they're ashamed, but it's nothing to be ashamed of," Ward said. "You've got to face it, and you've got to be willing to talk about it for others to be helped."
Saturday, Ward and others affected by opioid addiction are gathering at Festival Park to "Shine a Light" on the epidemic affecting communities everywhere. It's spearheaded by C.R. Temple, a local minister who once battled addiction himself. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open and free to the public.
"We have to show them love," Temple said. "That's what we're gonna come out here and do Saturday, we're going to shine our light. We're gonna speak about what God has done for us, as recovering addicts, and walking in a positive way."
The weekend's event will feature free food, music, testimonies and plenty of resources. Temple said if his ministry is able to help even one person this weekend, it'll be a blessing. As Ward's own son works toward recovery, she hopes to help shine that same light in the lives of other families.
"They're gonna be able to give families who don't know where to reach out to, or where to go, they're gonna be able to supply them with that knowledge," Temple said.
"Our kids grew up in church, they went to Sunday School. But my son told me, he said 'mom, I wouldn't trade this experience because I have my salvation now'," Ward said.