GREENFIELD — Linda Ostewig never met Steve Dyer before his death in 2008, but she talked to him often over the phone as she worked to help a loved one overcome addiction.
The man on the other end of the line was an ordained minister, a Vietnam veteran whose desire to help others led him to develop a private counseling practice through his church. He also led intervention classes at both the Hancock County Jail and the community corrections center, helping inmates fight addiction. He helped dozens turn their lives around and supported addicts’ loved ones along the way.
Annually, Neighbors Against Substance Abuse, a nonprofit organization that promotes programs aimed at preventing drug and alcohol abuse among county residents, presents the Stephen T. Dyer Community Service Award to someone who demonstrates the commitment Dyer did to helping others. Past winners have included local judges, prosecuting attorneys and school principals.
On Friday, the organization honored Ostewig, director of The Landing, a safe haven for at-risk teens, with the award for her dedication to curtailing drug addiction in Hancock County.
Amy Ikerd, crime prevention specialist for the Hancock County Probation Department, presented Ostewig with the award, saying she doesn’t know another person in the community doing more to promote outreach and services to those struggling with addiction.
“She is not only an advocate for addicts but is also a huge support for family members of addicts,” Ikerd said.
Ostewig is the driving force behind The Landing, which has provided at-risk teens with a place to meet and work through their personal struggles for that past two years. She also spearheaded an annual recovery walk in Hancock County and is helping to establish a women’s recovery home, which the county currently lacks.
“Linda has dedicated her life to carrying a message of recovery to everyone struggling with addiction,” Ikerd said. “Linda is well-respected, and her service to the community is greatly valued.”
Ostewig teared up as she accepted the award, saying she was honored to receive the award named after a man who fought so hard to reach community members fighting substance abuse.
“I’m not going to stop until the last one we know is walking in recovery,” she said.
Also honored at Friday’s annual luncheon were the Proactive Criminal Enforcement (PACE) team and Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, both for working as NASA community partners.
NASA director Tim Retherford said the PACE team has helped keep drugs off the interstate and out of the community.
Eaton has worked diligently as prosecutor to try to reduce underage drinking, heroin use and other drug use in the community, Retherford said.
In 2017, NASA will award $81,000 of grant money to local organizations helping to fight substance abuse around the community. Grant recipients were announced at Friday’s annual NASA luncheon.
Organizations receiving grants toward prevention and education programs are:
- Mt. Vernon High School for random drug testing
- Hancock County DARE
- Eastern Hancock middle school and high school for random drug testing
- Greenfield Central Junior High and Greenfield-Central High School for random drug testing
- The Landing
- LEAP for providing family assistance for Hancock County residents to attend Prime for Life, a motivational prevention, intervention and pre-treatment program designed to reach people who might be making high-risk choices
Organizations receiving grants toward treatment and intervention programs are:
- Brookville Road Community Church for its Celebrate Recovery program
- Hancock County Community Corrections for drug court, drug testing supplies and fees
- New Life Biblical Counseling Ministries for its Skills for Life program
- Brandywine Community Church for its Celebrate Recovery program
- The Landing
Organizations receiving grants toward criminal justice services are:
- The Hancock County Heroin Task Force for overtime expenses
- Hancock County Underage Drinking Task Force for overtime and program expenses
- Shirley Police Department for drug testing kits