Gregory Hill Humes was a really great, sensitive son and young man. He excelled academically starting in elementary school where he was selected into the L.E.A.P program. His academics continued through high school and led him to the main campus of Penn State. When it came to sports, Greg didn’t have the natural athleticism of others, but he consistently outworked them. He was regularly chosen as an all-star in ice hockey and baseball. The quote I gave for his high school yearbook, “With the game on the line, I want the ball hit to Greg.”
Greg experimented with illegal drugs in his mid-teens into his early 20s. The experimentation escalated, culminating in his heroin use. Drugs take good kids to bad places. In my son’s instance, his substance use disorder led him to prison. Upon his release, he was doing all of the right things in order to reclaim his life. He had been sober for 17 months. The addiction heroin is very strong. One night he felt the draw to “chase the high” one more time. The decision proved to be fatal. Our advocacy at atTAcK addiction keeps the memory of Greg and all of our loved ones alive.
John Perkins, Jr.
Our son, John M. Perkins Jr., lost his life to a heroin overdose on May 5th, 2011. John had turned 30 years old two weeks before on April 16th, 2011. He was our only son, our first child. He grew up as a typical boy. Always pushing the envelope on either his bicycle, dirt bike or snowboard. He lit up a room and made friends with everyone. He felt a loyalty to old friends, and he made us cry, but he also made us laugh. We loved him dearly and will miss him every second of the rest of our lives.
“I have a child, yes. I have his death certificate, but he isn’t dead to me. He will always live in my heart… His memories will forever live on in my mind and as long I have breath, I will speak his name… as long as my heart beats… I will love him just the same. Just because he is no longer here on this earth does not mean that he is forgotten for I will never let that happen as long as I have breath to speak his name.” — Anna Mesoraca, GRASP member
Stephanie King never dreamed she would grow up to become an addict. Who would have thought the beautiful blonde-haired blue-eyed student-athlete would? Steph grew up in a loving home, attended twelve years of Catholic school, was a great student, an athlete, a kind and caring daughter. How and when did it happen? The fact is, it can happen to anyone, anytime if they are introduced to opioids and aren’t warned of their highly addictive properties. Steph had been the victim of a sexual assault her second week of college, then was wrongly prescribed a full bottle of Percocet 5mg tablets after being hospitalized for stomach pains. When she returned to campus she was introduced to 30mg tablets of Percocet. They became her new best friend who took away all her pain and anxiety. Her craving and need for the drug spiraled out of control and she quickly turned to heroin. She dragged her family through the eye of her addiction tornado. Steph is one of the fortunate ones to survive and now thrive in recovery. She works hard every day to maintain her sobriety and help others with similar struggles. She has become an advocate for those in recovery and speaks out to educate and raise awareness in communities on the dangers of addiction. HOPE lives; Recovery IS possible!
Ricky Hess was an active athlete (football and lacrosse). He experienced a few injuries with his knee and received pain medicine from the doctor. During high school, he would drink to get drunk and got high, but as he went to college he began using pain medicine excessively. He could not stop. He stole from my family, sold drugs to support his habit, his body went through constant withdrawal and his life was in chaos. When he made that first decision to start drinking and getting high, he did not know he had the disease of addiction. He wishes he made a different decision. Today, he is 4+ years sober and he just married the love of his life. He is a vision of hope and his lesson to all is to learn from his mistakes and make the right decision from the beginning not to experiment with drugs.