Rising Up’ luncheon celebrates recovery from drug abuse, other achievements


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By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

NILES

The success stories of three clients of Trumbull County Children Services who are winning their battle with drug addiction were celebrated Wednesday at the agency’s annual “Rising Up, Moving On” luncheon.

The event also celebrated the work by two men with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to save a child from human trafficking and celebrated the “village” that brought a girl named Jamie and her brother a new home and a new family.

Becky Easton was the first award recipient. She was recognized for achieving sobriety more than a year ago after battling heroin addiction that brought her homelessness and incarceration.

But after a drug binge in March 2017 that put her in the hospital, she received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder related to the childhood trauma of being molested, said Heather Bentley, her caseworker.

“Ms. Easton decided she was tired of living an addict’s lifestyle and wanted to get clean and sober and maintain that,” Bentley said.

“She embraced drug treatment and engaged in the methadone program at Meridian [HealthCare] after finding that suboxone did not fit her needs.”

Easton’s mother took temporary custody of Easton’s young daughter as Easton made progress in treatment and “began to accumulate clean time,” Bentley said.

Easton has regained custody of her daughter. She also has obtained independent housing for her and her daughter, and has “gone above and beyond” by adding group sessions to help her with parenting and to use yoga “to help her remain focused on her sobriety,” Bentley said.

Tamara Ware was celebrated for the recovery she has made from drug abuse that began after she started using prescription pain medications for an injury she suffered in cheerleading.

Ware, who was adopted through Children Services at 8, was an “outgoing, happy kid, active in sports, especially cheerleading,” caseworker Tracie Littell said.

“Athough Tammy wasn’t technically using more than prescribed, she soon realized that Vicodin could dull more than her physical pain from injuries, and that it also worked well to dull any emotional pain the 15-year-old was feeling,” Littell said.

Just after graduating from high school, she was diagnosed with cancer and took Oxycodone for the four years of her treatment, Littell said.

She’s been in “true recovery” for two years, sponsors women in Narcotics Anonymous and will be trained this summer to become a recovery coach.

Lt. Jeffrey S. Greene and Trooper Brian DePizzo of the Ohio State Highway Patrol were honored for their service to children for finding a child in Children Services custody who had run away.

They found her in Cleveland with two adults, and she was returned to the county.

“Without their immediate and thorough response, this agency likely would not have been able to locate this at-risk teenager,” caseworker Kellie Johnson said.

Children Services administrator Marilyn Pape also recognized scores of companies and owners who volunteered to expand the home of a couple who took four members of a sibling group into their home.

Among the four children was Jamie, the girl who received a liver transplant, thanks to a Children Services campaign that located a donor, David Denovchek of Niles, to provide the life-saving organ.

With the construction finished last December, Jamie and her brother Jeremiah joined their two other siblings at the adoptive family home in December.

Don Beuchene, the children’s father, said the best part is seeing how much the children enjoy being together after being apart so much in the past.

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