Warriors Group Marks Two-Year Anniversary With Event

WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction will celebrate their two-year anniversary with an upcoming fundraiser.

To celebrate their two-year anniversary, the Worcester County Warriors will host their second annual Turtle for Recovery fundraiser at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City on April 8.

Heidi McNeeley, co-founder of the Worcester County Warriors, said the event will feature a live performance by The Breakers, food and auction prizes.

“All the proceeds from the event go toward helping people overcome financial obstacles to treatment and recovery,” McNeeley said. “We don’t pay for the treatment itself, but we do pay for things like transportation to treatment.”

Turtle for Recovery will take place Sunday, April 8, from 1-4 p.m. Those wishing to donate items or services to the auction, as well as those wishing to purchase tickets in advance, can do so by contacting the Worcester County Warriors through their Facebook page. Tickets will be on sale for $10.

McNeeley encouraged community members to attend the event.

“People are frustrated because they want to help but they don’t know how,” she said. “This is a great way.”

Since 2016, the Warriors have partnered with the Worcester County Health Department, local schools, businesses, area hospitals and other entities in their mission to end addiction.

McNeeley said she had no expectations of what the Worcester County Warriors would become when she invited community members to the group’s first meeting in April of 2016.

“When we put up the flyer and said we were having this meeting at the library, I thought we would get maybe five or six people who would come and talk about the epidemic and maybe figure out ways to talk to the health department and school system and get the word out,” she said. “At that point, I thought I would fade into the background and it would be some politician or community figure who would be taking this ball and running with it. The total opposite has happened.”

In addition to hosting monthly meetings and raising money for people seeking treatment, McNeeley said the Worcester County Warriors have launched a Warrior Angel program, secured an intern, and have opened an office at the Berlin Welcome Center, among other things.

“We’ve grown in ways that none of us could have ever imagined,” she said. “We officially have 290 members and just the way the community has embraced us and supported us has been unbelievable.”

McNeeley said she is hopeful for what the future will bring for the Worcester County Warriors. In addition to establishing a physical location where community members can find resources and classes, McNeeley said she envisions the group offering additional support to family and friends of those who are addicted.

“I am so grateful for the attention that is now being paid to people who are addicted and for the attention that’s being paid to the opioid epidemic,” she said, “but I think we also need to focus on the people who are in the wake of the addiction.”

Regardless, McNeeley said the Warriors will continue in their mission to provide education, awareness, support and navigation of resources.

“Our hope is to continue to dispel the stigma,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.