(May 3, 2019) Records were broken during the third annual “Rock for Recovery” benefit on Sunday, as the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction raised more than $6,000 to help heroin and opioid addicts get treatment.

Heidi McNeeley and Jackie Ball, two mothers with sons who struggled with addiction, co-founded the nonprofit in 2016 as a way to both start a conversation and better organize resources to combat the opioid epidemic locally.

McNeeley, on Monday, credited classic rock band Tranzfusion and the West Ocean City Greene Turtle for helping to drum up the largest-ever crowd for the event. About 200 people attended the event.

“It went so well. It was the most successful event we have had thus far,” McNeeley said. “We are so beyond thrilled. Everything came together.”

Tranzfusion

Tranzfusion performs during the third annual Rock for Recovery, Sunday at the West Ocean City Greene Turtle. The event raised more than $6,000 for nonprofit group The Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction. 

Along with the money raised, McNeeley said it was also gratifying to be surrounded by family, including her son, who is a recovering addict.

“It was unbelievable, because that’s why we started the group and now here he is with his child,” she said. “And then my stepdaughter surprised us by coming from the other side of the bridge with her family, so having everyone there was just outstanding.”

McNeeley said she also met a man during the event that once struggled with addiction, but now uses his experience to help others.

“He has done so, so much for hundreds of people,” she said. “I don’t want to give too many details because I don’t know how anonymous he is, but he has just done such great things for other people in recovery. It just blew me away.

“To meet these quiet, unsung heroes that are using their own recovery to help so many other people is just miraculous,” McNeeley added.

All of the money raised during the event will help local people get into recovery programs. Many times, McNeeley said, the Worcester Warriors receive calls from area professionals.

“I’ll get a call saying, ‘Hey, I have a guy who’s ready to discharge [from a hospital] and he wants to go into Hope4Recovery in Berlin, but he doesn’t have the money to pay the first few weeks that’s required, and can you guys help out?’ Most of the time that’s what we pay,” she said.

Other times, the nonprofit has to get creative. Calls have come in asking for everything from cab fare to a treatment center, to storage for someone in treatment who’s being evicted.

“We had somebody who wanted to go to rehab, but they were being evicted and had nowhere to keep all of their things, so we paid for a storage unit for a month until they could get their stuff together,” McNeeley said. “We’ll do anything we can.”

With all of the help they’ve provided during the last four years, there are now many success stories that credit the Worcester Warriors.

“We had somebody come speak at our last meeting who is in recovery after being in rehab for a year, and I remember speaking directly with his family and navigating them through the whole process to get him into rehab. So, that was pretty cool to be able to be involved in that,” McNeeley said.

Up next, the Worcester Warriors will partner with the Atlantic Club for a Recovery Walk on Sept. 7. For information, visit www.atlanticclubocmd.org.

For a list of addictions resources or more information, or to donate to the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction, visit www.wocowarriors.org.

To stay connected with the nonprofit, follow the group at www.facebook.com/WorcesterCountyWarriors.

Josh Davis is an MDDC award-winning editor and reporter at the Bayside Gazette and Ocean City Today newspapers, covering Berlin and Ocean Pines, Maryland. He is the author of three novels, including 'Vanishing is the Last Art' (2012). He lives in Berlin.

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