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Celebration of Life Walk leading up to Celebrate Recovery

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Celebration of Life Walk leading up to Celebrate Recovery

Monica Batteiger, one of the founders of Drug Free Muskingum, holds one of the organization's T-shirts for the Celebration of Life Walk.

Monica Batteiger, one of the founders of Drug Free Muskingum, holds one of the organization's T-shirts for the Celebration of Life Walk.

Monica Batteiger, one of the founders of Drug Free Muskingum, holds one of the organization's T-shirts for the Celebration of Life Walk.

Monica Batteiger, one of the founders of Drug Free Muskingum, holds one of the organization's T-shirts for the Celebration of Life Walk.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

The Muskingum County Fairgrounds will be full of recovery celebrations throughout the day Saturday.

Kicking off the event is the Celebration of Life Walk from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. leading into the Celebrate Recovery event from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A family in the community approached one of the founders of Drug Free Muskingum, Monica Batteiger, about hosting a celebration of life walk back in October as they wanted to honor a family member that had passed away.

“We decided that instead of just dwelling on, you know, the loss, we wanted to celebrate the ones that were in recovery,” Batteiger said. “We wanted to support the ones that maybe were struggling and remember the ones that we’ve lost.”

Drug Free Muskingum is dedicated to educating the community about addiction, as well as “supporting fighters, admiring survivors, remembering those we’ve lost and never losing hope,” as the group’s T-shirts read.

Drug Free Muskingum had Goodman Steel make a fence that people can place locks on to honor those that have lost the battle of addiction. Batteiger is currently working with community officials to find a permanent place for the lock fence.

“This will be a place that the families can go, you know, to have a place to honor their loved ones everyday or on their special days,” She said.

In addition to bringing locks, those attending the walk are encouraged to bring signs honoring loved ones that have died due to the disease of addiction. The signs can be decorated with all of the things a person would want the community to know about their family member or friend.

“We’ll be able to walk around the asphalt there and be able to honor the people that we’ve lost so they’re not just a number anymore,” Batteiger said. “They are people and they were somebody’s people.”

On Saturday, the walk is going to open with an introduction from Zanesville City Law Directors David and Emily Tarbert, who also donated snacks for the event.

Along with the Tarberts, Starbucks has donated coffee and Cedar Ridge donated water for the walk.

“It’s gonna just be a big fun day for the community to see that recovery can happen and it does happen,” Batteiger said. “We want people to know that this is a part of our community.”

While addiction heavily impacts the community, Batteiger said it’s important for people in the community to see that there is an opposing side to the ugliness that addiction presents.

“I’ve been touched by addiction, I’ve been touched by the opposite side of it so, you know, I know, I know how ugly addiction is,” Batteiger said. “And I know how beautiful recovery can be, and I think that the community needs to see that.”

The Celebration of Life Walk is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the pavilion next to the Veteran’s building at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds. Participants will walk on the pavement around the fairground for an un-timed walk. The Celebration of Recovery event will follow the walk beginning at 1 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Also read: Celebration of Recovery Saturday

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