RUMFORD — With chants of “Up with hope; down with dope,” a group made up of parents and grandparents, and down to infants in strollers, left Hosmer Field to spread awareness and offer help through a Walk for Recovery.

Inspired, in part, by the annual October Prayer Walk-a-Thon through Mexico and Rumford, local resident Jake Santillo spearheaded this push to foster addiction recovery in the River Valley.

Already leading a recovery meeting Friday evenings at First Baptist of Mexico, 20 Roxbury Road, Santillo’s desire with the event was “… if just one person starts their recovery from this, that would make it all worth it.”  

Pastor Tony Rea of First Baptist, a trained recovery coach, assisted Santillo in generating interest, sponsors, publicity and volunteers. He considers addiction one of the most serious moral, spiritual and physical issues in America, deeply affecting towns. The church’s Ministry of Missions also helped sponsor the walk.

More than 40 walkers, and four riders, with driver Al Boudreau on the First Baptist bus, set out from the field.

Later about 70 guests and volunteers received tickets for the free hamburger and hot dog lunch, followed by motivational speakers, including Rea, Maine Recovery Coach Darren Ripley, and recovering addicts/alcoholics like Charlie, Jess, and Jake himself.

FMI: 207-657-2876, 207-364-8712, 207-621-4111, 207-458-4366.

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