Wasilla vigil remembers people lost to addiction
Exactly three years ago Thursday, John Green learned his daughter Kellsie had died in the Anchorage Jail from complications of a heroin withdrawal.
"I can still remember the feeling when it sunk in my daughter was dead. And that was, up to that point, that was the worst moment in my life that you can't even imagine," he said. "What was even worse was having to go to her mother's house and tell her her daughter died after we had made that decision to put her in jail."
John and Kathi Green had their 24-year-old daughter arrested on an outstanding warrant on January 5, 2016. They knew she was struggling with a heroin addiction and wanted to keep her safe.
"For four nights I slept good, knowing she was safe and not on the streets and not in the back of a car freezing to death and not going to overdose," he said. "Choosing to have her arrested will haunt me until the day I die."
The Green family knows there are others dealing with the same pain. On the anniversary of Kellsie's death, they gathered with friends and family at Nunley Park in Wasilla to remember those lost to addiction.
For Darlene Fox, it was a chance to express her newfound grief. She said her daughter Whitney died on Saturday while waiting for treatment.
"She needed the help, she was looking for the help for a long time, but couldn't find it. We'd been looking for a long time," Fox said.
"She had that stigma on her that many of them do, an ugly sigma. That's not acceptable," Fox cried. "My daughter didn't die in vain. She was a person, she had a good heart, she loved and was loved."
A recovering addict talked about finding hope in the darkness. That's why John Green brings people together every year on January 10, to see the impact addiction has on our community and for people to know they're not alone.
If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction you can find resources in Alaska by calling 211.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.