‘I remember the faces … ‘


Second Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event kicks off

By Charlotte Caldwell - [email protected]



Three photos of loved ones lost to drug addiction and overdose sit on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.

Three photos of loved ones lost to drug addiction and overdose sit on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.


Sidney Police Chief William Balling, left to right, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger, and Commissioner Tony Bornhorst chat with two attendees at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.


Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event organizer Megan Burchett speaks to attendees at the event on Aug. 31.


Sidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee Rob S. speaks about his experience with drug addiction at the event on Aug. 31.


Sidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee James Demarcus speaks about his son who died of a drug overdose at the event on Aug. 31.


SIDNEY – Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger, Sidney Police Chief William Balling and attendees spoke during the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held in the court square in Sidney on Aug. 31.

This event was held in conjunction with Ohio Overdose Awareness Day – also on Aug. 31 – and in preparation for National Recovery Month in September.

Megan Burchett has hosted the event in Sidney for two years now, and she is passionate about it because of her past experiences.

“This November I will be three years clean from meth and heroin, and I started this because I had so many people near and dear to my heart when I was using and when I was in recovery that have died from overdoses, and it felt like once they were gone no one really cared, and I felt like people who were overdosing it was just like ‘oh well who cares let them die,’” Burchett said. “So I want to bring attention to the community that even if you are in active addiction you still do matter.”

Bornhorst was the first speaker, and he read a proclamation from the commissioners that recognized Ohio Overdose Awareness Day.

Hollinger spoke next, and he spoke from his experience as a first responder when he started as a paramedic and in his personal life with family members fighting addiction. He told a story about his first time responding to an overdose call and the family’s questions of why it was happening to someone close to them.

“We don’t understand the why. But what we do understand is that these people that are fighting addiction need to be loved. They need to know that they’re valued and that we care about them. And something that Megan said when she started, that often times these names and these faces just disappear when they’re gone. Well, I can assure you from the perspective of a first responder, they don’t ever disappear,” Hollinger said. “We remember not only the faces of the addicted, but I think in more cases, especially for me, I remember the faces of the family as they stood by helplessly watching and we worked to bring back their loved one.”

Balling spoke about the stigma that people put on drugs and addiction and commended the organizations present for working to combat that.

“One thing that I really want to do is encourage you to smash the stigma. We all have issues, and we have to encourage people to get the help that they need,” Balling said. “One life lost is too many. We have to start now and smash that.”

After the designated speakers spoke, there was an open mic for anyone present who wanted to share their stories. Rob S. spoke about his time as an addict and said he knew over 35 people who have died because of addiction.

“I’ve battled addiction for 20 years. I didn’t stop because I broke my mom’s heart, let my dad down, let my family down. I stopped because I wanted to, and nobody else is going to until you have that desire to do better and be better. Doesn’t matter what the police say or how many times first responders bring you back, you’re not going to stop until you really want that change personally,” Rob said. “I lost myself for 20 years, and on the side of first responders bringing me back, instead of being grateful for it, I was angry at them because they messed up my high. That’s how sick the disease of addiction will make your mind. My goal today is to help the next person who is struggling with addiction.”

James Demarcus lost his son to an overdose last year and shared his experience.

“You never expect it to hit so close to home, but it does. It’s not just taking people we are barely acquainted to, it’s taking people we love,” Demarcus said. “I’m so glad to see everybody supporting this because we need it. I know I personally need it. It’s just been a little over a year and I still feel hollow. My son was the closest person to me alive and it was a hard loss.”

Organizations with tables giving out information at the event included the Sidney Police Department, Journey 4 Self, Celebrate Recovery, Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, Family Resource Center, New Vision at Wilson Health, FOA Families of Addicts, and Narcotics Anonymous. A candlelight vigil was also held with participants bringing photos of loved ones lost to addiction or overdose, and Narcan was present for anyone who wanted to keep it with them to help others if it was ever needed.

Three photos of loved ones lost to drug addiction and overdose sit on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_Image-1-1-3.jpegThree photos of loved ones lost to drug addiction and overdose sit on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.

Sidney Police Chief William Balling, left to right, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger, and Commissioner Tony Bornhorst chat with two attendees at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_Image-3-1-3.jpegSidney Police Chief William Balling, left to right, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger, and Commissioner Tony Bornhorst chat with two attendees at the Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event held on Aug. 31.

Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event organizer Megan Burchett speaks to attendees at the event on Aug. 31.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_Image-4-1-3.jpegSidney Overdose Awareness Day event organizer Megan Burchett speaks to attendees at the event on Aug. 31.

Sidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee Rob S. speaks about his experience with drug addiction at the event on Aug. 31.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_Image-12-1-3.jpegSidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee Rob S. speaks about his experience with drug addiction at the event on Aug. 31.

Sidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee James Demarcus speaks about his son who died of a drug overdose at the event on Aug. 31.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_Image-13-1-3.jpegSidney Overdose Awareness Day attendee James Demarcus speaks about his son who died of a drug overdose at the event on Aug. 31.
Second Sidney Overdose Awareness Day event kicks off

By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.