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Bikers raise $2,801 for HOPE Initiative

by on August 17, 2017 8:48 AM

CENTRE HALL — Nearly 50 bikers and their passengers embarked on an 80-mile ride Aug. 5 to benefit the Centre County HOPE Initiative. A total of $2,801 was raised for the nonprofit.

According to Gene Lauri, Centre County’s criminal justice planner — who also participated in the event — the ride was co-sponsored by the Bikers Against Drugs group, as well as Centre Hall American Legion Smit-Pletcher Post 779.
Music was provided by Sgt. Bob.

Commissioner Steve Dershem kicked off the after-ride program with a few words about HOPE and it’s vision of eliminating overdoses and drug overdose deaths. He thanked the Centre Hall Legion for sponsoring this event and all of the members and others who worked so hard to make it a success. 

Dershem introduced HOPE member Danielle Joliet, who talked about her work with those in recovery. 

“I have had the opportunity to see the war on drugs up close from both sides and I can confidently report back we are losing,” Joliet told Centre County Gazette. “We as a community need to change how we fight this war.”

Joliet was a military police officer and a civilian police officer in Pennsylvania. She said she had the misconception that she could arrest her way out of addiction and that excessive drug use and alcohol addiction were choice made consciously and willingly, but noted that all changed when she found herself dealing with her own addiction.

“Since coming to recovery, I have been able to better not only my life, but my families’ and my community,” she said. “I work tirelessly every day to change the general public’s view of addiction so that the individual out there suffering from the disease of addiction does not experience the fear and shame I did when I picked up a phone to ask for help.”

Joliet said she is grateful to be a member of the Centre County HOPE Initiative.

“This is a group of public officials, community leaders, families and individuals who are coming together of our own time and asking, ‘What can we do?’

"In the Army, we had a common saying, ‘A team is only as strong as its weakest member.’ Well, our weakest member is out there suffering from the disease of addiction and to build a strong community we need to go meet that individual where they are at.”


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