Some participants walked over the Flagler Beach bridge in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31 to celebrate their years in recovery. Others walked in memory of loved ones who lost their lives to overdoses.
The Flagler County Drug Court Foundation sponsored the event, which began at Wadsworth Park and ended with a gathering of more than 30 across the bridge at Veterans Park.
Todd Frenier, campus pastor at Salty Church in Flagler Beach, delivered a prayer at each site.
Michael Fedlbauer, the president of the Flagler County Drug Court Foundation, noted that several people in recovery were in attendance. "We pray, and we thank God that they're here standing with us," he said.
Feldbauer said the biggest issue is stigma, "and we need to fight that." He noted that Flagler County has one of the highest overdose death rates in the state.
"We have to wake up our neighbors," he said. "Now with the fentanyl crisis, people are dying by pure accident."
Narcan nasal spray, which rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose, was handed out. Renee DeAngelis spoke about the importance of education. Her daughter died of a fentanyl overdose six years ago. She has been working with the Drug Court Foundation and the Flagler County Opioid Task Force since 2018 educating the community about Narcan and the addiction problem.
Tabitha Wilkins attended the event in memory of her twin sister, Jillian Zuniga, who died last year at age 22 of a fentanyl overdose. Meg Parker walked over the bridge in honor of her son, Daniel Parker. Tressie Paytas walked in memory of her son, Tim Paytas.
Kim Schattner, one of two members of the Flagler County Drug Court team who are in recovery themselves, said she hoped the circle of people remembering their loved ones "doesn't grow any bigger than it is now."