Shining light in the darkness

By Lora Jenkins - Contributing columnist

As the year comes to a close, the Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery wants to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a bright New Year! As a Coalition member, I look at our glorious city park this time of year and am reminded of the Coalition’s work to bring light and hope to our community as we battle drug addiction, raise awareness and promote prevention efforts. May our efforts be as bright and miraculous as Gallipolis in Lights!

On October 26th, the Coalition held a Walk to Remember in the City Park. This event was an evening memorial service for family and friends to gather and remember those lost to addiction, either by overdose death or things that were drug related. Personalized lanterns were created as memorials to those we know who lost their fight in addiction. The lanterns illuminated sidewalks within our city park as we remembered their lives and grieved our losses. Special singing and words of comfort and encouragement offered hope to those who attended. Those attending took laps around our park for every member lost. The walk was very moving as family members walked and remembered their loved ones, shedding tears and finding some sense of peace in the midst of being with so many who have been left behind. That evening, we held a tree lighting; purple lights lit up a small tree to symbolize a spirit of recovery in our community. It seemed so small a light, but it symbolized great hope and fierce determination to keep fighting with those we love who are either in treatment or who are yet to come into treatment.

As I look at our city park currently, I think it is so beautiful. I appreciate the “wow factor” as all of a sudden Second Avenue opens up and there in the center of our town is a most glorious display of light for all to see! The planning, meetings, late-night work, finances, and manpower that have gone into this project year after year are evident of teamwork and community.

No truly great work is ever accomplished by one person, but many. The end result is rewarding. The lights bring a sense of pride to all who live here. It is my hope that in 2020 our Coalition experiences this same kind of community teamwork. May our efforts be filled with passion that radiates like light and hope to those lost in addiction, pointing the way to recovery. May our efforts clean up our streets and make our county a safe place to raise a family. May the statistics that put us on the map not be high overdose rates, but those that show that we are a community where successful recovery takes place, families are restored, crime is low, jail cells have a low census and Children’s Services workers are not overtaxed with removing children from their parents due to drug usage in the home. That would be a display of light we could all be proud of as well!

May our county continue to experience displays of light throughout 2020. Even when the Christmas lights are only a memory, may our community work together as a team to display a message of hope, light and love to those who are lost in addiction. Our Coalition meets every second Monday at the Holzer Medical Center in Gallipolis at noon. Please feel free to attend, and bring your ideas for how to bring hope to our community through the Coalition’s efforts. You may email the Chairman of the Coalition at for more information.

By Lora Jenkins

Contributing columnist

Lora Jenkins is vice-chairperson of Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery.

Lora Jenkins is vice-chairperson of Gallia County Citizens for Prevention and Recovery.