Drug-free council, United Way planning Get Loud Now event for Saturday


While attending a friend’s brother’s funeral, Heather Grube watched a grandmother sob over the casket of a 19-year-old boy who didn’t have to die.

He had overdosed on heroin.

She said she went home and wound up in the bathroom sobbing, and she prayed and asked the Lord what could be done.

“I refused to sit back and just think it’s a hopeless situation,” Grube said. “There has to be something that we can do.”

She then started conversations with people.

“I was just like, ‘Nobody talks about the issue until someone dies, and then everybody wants to talk about the issue,’” Grube said. “I just kept saying, ‘We need to get loud now, and we need to stay loud about it.’”

She said the Lord gave her the idea of people sharing their stories of hope onstage outside and passersby being transformed by hearing them.

Becky Schepman, executive director of Seymour Main Street, came into Grube’s shop, Beautiful Chaos, and said she wanted to put on an event to end Red Ribbon Week. That’s a nationwide campaign conducted each October to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.

“That turned into me telling her what I felt that morning, and she was like, ‘Let’s do it,’” Grube said.

The inaugural Get Loud Now event featured people impacted by addictions in various ways sharing their stories. It had to be moved indoors because of the weather, but people still showed up, including Jackson County United Way and Jackson County Drug-Free Council representatives. Grube joined one of the council’s action teams that night.

Now, she is among a group of people from the five action teams organizing the second Get Loud Now, set for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour.

People will share their stories, and there will be live music, food trucks, vendors with information and a free raffle drawing for prizes.

Grube said attendees will hear about lives lost or people in prison because of drug and alcohol addictions, but there will be a lot of positives, too.

“There’s a lot of hope,” she said. “There are a lot of people that walked out of very horrible, ugly situations and I would venture to say that they would stand on that stage if they can speak and they would say they didn’t know their lives could be as good as their lives are. They lost a lot for a short time, but they walked through it, and they are different people because of it.”

Grube said her heart isn’t just for the recovered. It’s also for the unrecovered.

“It’s for the ones that are thinking that they are in a hopeless situation, and they’re not,” she said. “They just don’t know that every morning they wake up is a new day and that there is grace that covers it and there’s mercy and that they can still try again.”

That’s her passion in continuing Get Loud Now.

“We may plant a seed,” Grube said. “In a year, it may make a difference, but it’s worth it. Every single person that is stuck in the middle of addiction is worth it.”

AmyMarie Travis, president of the drug-free council, said one of the purposes of the event is to erase the feelings of shame and helplessness that stops some people from asking for help.

“One of the reasons to keep doing it is to keep saying as a community, ‘There is hope. We do care about you. You shouldn’t feel ashamed,’” she said.

Travis, who used to be the county prosecutor and now is judge of Jackson Superior Court I, said many people suffering from addictions feel an overwhelming sense of shame that keeps them down.

“I don’t want people to ever feel shame. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has problems,” she said. “We want to say, ‘Push the shame aside. Talk to each other. Listen to people.’”

Some people view those with addictions as a moral failing or character flaw, Travis said.

“That’s just not a healthy way to get people to get help,” she said.

Kimberly Buck, chairwoman of the treatment action team, said some people suffering from addictions feel shunned and unwanted by the community, and the feelings of guilt and shame cause them to isolate themselves.

“Let your voice be heard. Let your story be told,” she said. “You are important. You are loved. You are cared about. No matter where you are in your journey, there is hope, and any positive change should be embraced.”

Grube said there are people who have compassion and understanding and want to support those in recovery, while others look down on them. She hopes Get Loud Now changes the stigma of the community.

“I’m hoping to pull the two sides into one,” she said. “We do a lot for the recovered, and that’s fantastic because I think that they still need that, too. But this is not just for the recovered. This is for the ones that are still in the middle of it, the ones who are still kind of lost. As a community, if we’re not being loud about the hope that we have for our town, then it’s ugly.”

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What: Get Loud Now, organized by the Jackson County Drug-Free Council and Jackson County United Way

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Crossroads Community Park in the 100 block of East Tipton Street, downtown Seymour

Features: People impacted by drug or alcohol addictions sharing their stories, live music, food trucks, vendors with information and a free raffle drawing for prizes

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The Jackson County Drug-Free Council meets at 4 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour.

Meetings are open to the public.

The council also has five action teams that people can join. They are prevention and education, intervention, treatment, recovery and public awareness. Those groups meet once or twice a month at various locations.

Information: facebook.com/jacksoncountydrugfreecouncil


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