Stop hiding behind things


I am writing in response to “More newsworthy” from Jan. 31, 2013.

I often wonder why certain articles are published in our hometown paper, because some of these stories do not seem very newsworthy.

As far as our president’s inauguration goes, he received plenty of newsworthy pictures. He was both seen and heard that day, and he will continue to be seen and heard throughout his next term.

As far as the woman caught selling drugs in the Dickinson County Jail, I’m glad she made the front page. Personally, I don’t think her picture was big enough. Anyone who sells, deals, or transports drugs into our town, schools, streets or jail ought to have their picture enlarged and plastered on the front page for all to see. We need to know who these individuals are, as parents and as a community. We need to stop hiding behind things that keep us comfortable and safe, bring that darkness to light. We need to face the facts.

Drug abuse is a serious problem in our community and has been for some time now. It’s time for those of us who have been affected by this problem to speak up and be heard. Others cry out for what they believe in and stand for. How like situations have made them crumble to their knees in prayer, or rejoice and laugh because a victory was made. It’s time to say enough is enough. For generations past and our future ones we hold dear.

On Feb. 20, 2012 we lost our 31 year old son to an accidental drug overdose. Unfortunately, many parents in our area share that same tragedy. We certainly are not alone in our grief.

Two very kind officers from the Sheriff’s Department came to our home late that evening to deliver the news, after they were notified by the police department in the state where our son was living.

That kind of visit or phone call is one that no parent should ever have to receive and no officer should have to deliver.

Although our son lived in a different state at the time of his death, his experience began here, in the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area. At that time, we had no idea that drugs were so rampant in our community. There were local drug dealers living a few miles from our home. If high school students can figure things out and know how to find these people, shouldn’t we as parents and concerned citizens also be aware of whom these people are as well?

But beware, these people also know how to seek out our loved ones, young and old.

Our son struggled with addiction for many years and because of that he also sought help from one of the top rehab centers in the country. We will forever be grateful to Teen Challenge for the support they offered him and our family. As the day approaches of the first year anniversary of his death, I am left wondering what thoughts were going on in his mind, how much physical and emotional pain he must have been struggling with. Why he didn’t share that final struggle with us? He was fighting to be a better man and a better father and to regain his sobriety.

We were so blessed to have him home for Christmas only a few short months before he passed away. Our entire family was home for the first time in years. The laughter and love we all shared are some of the best memories we will ever make.

My point in sharing our personal story is this: our son was not just our loss. He left behind sisters, four young children, family and friends. His death impacted many lives. We love our community and still consider it a pretty place to live and a wonderful place to bring up a family.

When our grandchildren visit, they always express how much they like it here too. However, we can no longer turn a blind eye to this problem or pretend that it does not exist. If people are bringing drugs into our community, I can’t think of anything more newsworthy than that.

Pat St. John