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DOVER — There was some rain, but the people gathered in Henry Law Park on Saturday for the second annual SOS Recovery Rally didn’t seem to mind getting wet.
The event is billed as a celebration of recovery from addictions, with an underlying message that recovery is possible with help. Organizations wanting to help were represented, from across the state, and attendees were treated to music, games, food, speakers and as much information as a person wanted.
A lot of New Hampshire dignitaries spoke or were seen roaming the grounds of the park in support of the work being done in New Hampshire to help address the needs of people with a substance abuse disorder. Among them were Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and State Sens. David Watters, D-Dover, and Tom Sherman
“I think we need two things to be effective,” said Sherman, a Rye Democrat. “We need these services to be available in every community. And, we need sustainable, dependable funding so these people can do what they do.”
Sununu declared September as recovery month in New Hampshire. “I am proud of the work SOS people, and all of you are doing,” said Sununu. “We need a workforce here. This (addiction) is not going to be solved overnight, or not even within the next year or two. This is a long-term process. We all have an obligation to be there for them, and to do whatever we can to help.”
One booth was manned by Anne Marie and Jim Zanfagna. When the couple lost their daughter Jackie to a drug overdose in 2014, Anne Marie, an artist, not only found solace in her art, she offered it to other parents.
Angels of Addictions (www.AngelsOfAddiction.org) was born. After painting a portrait of Jackie, she began to paint others lost to addiction. Now she has a traveling exhibit that has taken on a life of its own.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Anne Marie. “It’s my love song to my daughter. I think there is power when all the portraits are shown together.
“That’s sad, but we get it,” said Jim. “It will be the last picture a parent has done of their child.”
The nonprofit Angels of Addiction is currently showing at the Currier Art Museum in Manchester, through Nov. 14.