Battle against addiction continues with Recovery Walk

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Tasha Nicole Risco passed away June 17 at her home following a battle with addiction. She was only 34 and left behind two daughters. Those who knew her said her passing came as a complete surprise. She had been doing well working with officials at the Talitha Koum Women’s Recovery House in Greenfield, making real strides. That, officials said, makes her passing even harder for those who loved her.

“She had been at Talitha for over a year and was doing great and her sobriety was past a two-year mark,” Linda Ostewig, county recovery advocate said. “So we don’t know what all took place. I just know when we got the call, it really devastated a lot of people here in Hancock County.”

Risco and another county resident, Michelle A. Brown, will both be remembered and honored at this year’s 8th Annual Hancock County Recovery Walk. Brown, like Risco, struggled at times with addiction, and she also lost the battle.

Brown, 33, of Fortville, passed away Saturday, July 17, 2021. She was a 2006 graduate of Mt. Vernon High School and left behind many loved ones, including her son Grant, who she was devoted to.

“The selection of who we pick to honor is very purposeful and intentional,” Ostewig said. “Their lives mattered and they were so much more than what they struggled with.”

The Recovery Walk takes place Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Hancock County Courthouse Plaza and lasts throughout the morning. The annual event kicks off with registration at 8 a.m. The 5K walk is slated to start around 9:45 a.m.

Ostewig is the director of The Landing, which offers support to young people struggling with addiction and other problems. The organization hosts the Recovery Walk each year. Struggling when her own daughter suffered from substance abuse, Ostewig was instrumental in opening The Landing Place and helping create events like the Recovery Walk to help families find real solutions for addiction.

“When we first started the Recovery Walk, I never really understood the impact this would have on the families who we honor,” Ostewig said. “I see what it means to them to be able to share pieces of their loved one’s life who have passed from the battle.”

Ostewig said part of the healing process for families who suffer through addiction battles is for them to let others know their loved one was more than a person addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“I feel like I am connected to the people somehow and there is always a reset of passion for this project when we start planning the event,” Ostewig said.

There will also be several guest speakers, and awards will be handed out to Sen. Mike Crider and the volunteer of the year for the work they’ve done in helping fight addiction and supporting recovery in the county.

Crider is beign recognized for his work in supporting mental health issues, Ostewig said.

The event is designed to let family members share stories of their loved ones to let others know there was more to them than their addiction. The gathering also helps people and families who might be dealing with addiction find the resources — 23 different help organizations — they need to change lives.

“I feel like the resources we’re offering this year are phenomenal,” Ostewig said. “To be able to recognize families and give help to the families who struggle and say ‘Here it is. Here is help right now available to you. There is no shame in this, and let’s remove the stigma.’”

In addition to the dozens of resource tables, there will be food trucks, music and entertainment, as well as a dunk tank to dunk the prosecutor, Brent Eaton as well as a bounce house for the kids.

Officials say it’s not too late to sign up for the walk or to be a sponsor in the event. For more information, visit https://givebox.com/522666. Walkers can register right up until the walk starts, but people wanting a shirt from the event need to register by Saturday, Sept. 10.