When Jackie McClintock of Seymour asked her future husband to accompany her while she reached out to help people with drug addiction, it wasn’t something he felt comfortable doing at first.
He went along just to make sure she was safe.
“He thought he had to be my bodyguard,” she said.
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It wasn’t that John Crane didn’t care. He just didn’t have the personal connection to addiction that McClintock had.
As a public health nurse working at the Scott County Health Department during the HIV outbreak in 2015, she saw the effects and consequences of drug use daily. Those suffering from addiction were more than just a statistic or case folder to McClintock. They were regular people trying to cope with problems, and their lives were worth saving, she said.
Her own teenage son also was battling addiction and had overdosed. The drug issue wasn’t just someone else’s problem. It was hers. But she also was going to be part of the solution.
McClintock got involved with the nonprofit organization Overdose Lifeline Inc. and Pathways to Recovery, a residential treatment program in Indianapolis where her son was living. Saving people from drug addiction became her life’s cause.
Because Crane loved McClintock, it quickly became his, too.
With his smile, laugh and larger-than-life personality, Crane was the perfect person to reach out to others and offer hope and compassion. He loved to talk to complete strangers like he had known them all of their life, sharing stories and offering love and friendship to those who needed it most.
He also had a passion for music, having grown up around it, and would set up his drums and play for anybody needing a drummer.
Crane and McClintock married Sept. 24, 2016, and continued to promote and support Overdose Lifeline, Pathways to Recovery and services offered through the Scott County Health Department. They attended many events together, locally and around the state, to distribute and train people to use naloxone overdose reversal medication.
“John was a very compassionate man who had a heart of gold,” Jackie said. “He wanted to help people who used drugs or were trying to get into rehab as much as I did.”
Jackie left her job with the health department in July 2017 to spend more time with her family and to continue her work with Overdose Lifeline and Pathways to Recovery.
John continued to run his Farm Bureau Insurance office in Seymour while also standing by Jackie’s side to help people with drug addiction.
But illness would soon slow John down, and in August 2017, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
“We just continued to volunteer whenever and wherever we could,” Jackie said.
Sadly, John died Jan. 15, 2018, three days after he turned 52.
To honor his memory and continue the work he supported, Jackie, along with help from their family and friends, has organized the John Crane Memorial Fundraiser.
The event will be from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Harmony Park, 751 W. Second St., Seymour. Tickets are $5, and it’s free for children age 10 or younger.
Scheduled to perform are John’s brother, Larry Crane; Don Pedigo; “The Voice” contestant James Dupré; Mimi Mapes; Jesse Coraggio; John Whitcomb; Ray Bowling and Lanny Hattabaugh; Mojo Soul; and several other local musicians.
There will be a raffle for a guitar autographed by all of the musicians.
Can coozies, rubber bracelets and T-shirts will be available for purchase. No coolers will be allowed, but food and drinks will be available for purchase from The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and The Seymour Brewing Co.
“This will be a day of celebrating John Crane and his big, generous heart for helping people less fortunate than him,” Jackie said.
John regularly visited Pathways to Recovery last summer while Jackie’s son, Taylor Newkirk, was there, and he was a huge advocate of Overdose Lifeline making sure everyone carried naloxone, Jackie said.
“He never met a stranger and could easily engage in conversation with anyone, no matter what their way of life was,” she said. “He was a friend to many. They loved him and his stories of the music world.”
Pedigo, a Freetown native, is one of those who loved Crane and is glad he can be a part of the benefit concert.
Pedigo is now a recording artist in Nashville, Tennessee.
“John helped me get started as a professional musician,” Pedigo said. “He was like a big brother to me, my best friend, so anything to hold onto his memory, I wanted to be involved in. He was gone too soon.”
He also has a personal connection to the cause as he and his wife, Kim, lost their son to a heroin overdose four years ago.
“The Lord laid his heart on us to help others and to be a positive light when people are in darkness, just like John was that positive light,” Pedigo said. “We want to pick up the torch and continue that.”
As a person in the spotlight, Pedigo said he has a platform to draw people away from the fear and stigma of drug addiction and overdose through music and sharing the message of help and hope.
“I have the opportunity to put myself out there and tell people it’s OK to need help,” Pedigo said. “I want you to ask for help. I want to be a voice that people can hear and will listen to.”
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What: John Crane Memorial Fundraiser for Overdose Lifeline Inc. and Pathways to Recovery
When: 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Harmony Park, 751 W. Second St., Seymour
Cost: Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at The Brooklyn Pizza Co., Townhouse Cafe or A Total Tan, at the event or by contacting Jackie Crane or Olivia Newkirk. Children age 10 or younger are free.
There will be can coozies, rubber bracelets, stickers and T-shirts for sale that day.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase from The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and The Seymour Brewing Co. No coolers will be allowed.
Lineup for the event:
2 p.m.: Don Pedigo
3 p.m.: Ray Bowling and Lanny Hattabaugh
4 p.m.: James Dupré
5 p.m.: Larry Crane
6 p.m.: John Whitcomb
7 p.m.: Mimi Mapes
8 p.m.: Jesse Coraggio
9 p.m.: Mojo Soul