DEA Museum Foundation Hosts Vigil at Home of Target Chicago Exhibit
JUN 11 -- Chicago’s first “Vigil for Lost Promise” is expected to draw hundreds from Chicago neighborhoods and beyond to remember the potential of individuals who lost their lives to drugs. Building on the momentum of the inaugural vigil at DEA Headquarters last year, the DEA Museum Foundation, families, drug prevention organizations and businesses have joined together to re-affirm their commitment to preventing drug use and eliminating drugs from communities. The focus of the event is “lost promise” – all the talent and possibilities the world has lost because of drug use and drug-related violence. “A Vigil for Lost Promise” is open to the public and will take place on Monday, June 18th at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.
The event will feature speakers Kate Patton, a founding member of Families Changing America, who has dedicated herself to educating young people and parents about the tragic lessons learned from the death of her 23-year-old daughter from an Ecstasy overdose; Ava Youngblood, President/CEO of Youngblood Executive Search, who is a mother and noted speaker enduring the challenges of raising a family in the face of societal pressures to do drugs; and keynote speaker, Ken Barun, former head of Ronald McDonald House Charities and currently Senior Vice President of Communications and Development for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Mr. Barun’s rise from addiction to serving the Reagan Administration, led him to work in drug abuse awareness and prevention. He is the author of “How to Keep the Children You Love Off Drugs” and has been an avid supporter of the DEA Museum Foundation and its work to educate the public about the consequences of drugs.
Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to Target Chicago and “A Vigil for Lost Promise” are event partners: NBC5/Telemundo and the Chicago Sun-Times (media partners); Motorola; McDonald’s; the Cebrin Goodman Center; the Richard Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust; Bensinger & DuPont Associates, Inc.; Families Changing America; TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities); Prevention First; and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Each of these sponsors will receive the “Light of Hope Award” at the event, for their efforts to “ensure that other lights are not dimmed by drug abuse.”
“It is so important to remember the lives devastated by drug abuse and drug violence; the users, law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, and those left behind. Everyone pays a price for drugs and drug trafficking. It’s a message that every American needs to hear,” said Bill Alden, President of the DEA Museum Foundation.
Larry Wert, President/General Manager, NBC5, was dedicated early-on to making certain the message was heard. “NBC5 and Telemundo Chicago have been proud to partner with the DEA Museum Foundation in their efforts from the start of the initiative. Nothing could be more important than protecting the people we care about from the dangers of drugs.” According to Wert, “Events like NBC5’s news series and town hall provide critical awareness in helping to fulfill the DEA Museum’s mission of opening eyes to the damage drugs cause. And we’re especially proud to be participating in ‘The Vigil for Lost Promise’ at Navy Pier.”
The highlight of Monday night’s vigil ceremony will be a special candlelight honor walk within the ballroom, featuring family members lighting candles and walking up to a special “Wall of Remembrance” where they will post photographs of their loved ones. Leading the ceremony will be Mr. Larry Goodman, CEO/ and Chairman of the Cebrin Goodman Center, named for Mr. Goodman’s granddaughter who died from a heroin overdose.
Noting the importance of shining a light on drug abuse awareness through efforts like “A Vigil for Loss Promise,” Mr. Goodman cited additional ways in which families honor their loved ones. “Cebrin Goodman was a very special person who significantly touched the lives of all who knew her. We feel the beautiful spirit of Cebrin while we feel this tragic loss in our lives. Cebrin’s light will continue to glow through the many works of the Cebrin Goodman Center.”
“A Vigil for Lost Promise” will be hosted by NBC5 Health Watch Editor, Nesita Kwan. DEA Black & Gold Pipe & Drums member, Special Agent Gary Boertlein, will serve as honorary Bag Pipe soloist for the event. Chicago musicians from St. Teresa of Avila Parish, Jason Krumwiede, Rita McConville and Jeffrey Roscoe will perform. And Catherine Harnett, Chief, DEA Demand Reduction Programs, will recite “The Promise,” a moving poem, written by Ms. Harnet, which depicts the many promises parents make their children and children, their parents. The poem is a powerful center point for the vigil, “...and on this summer night we make new promises. A thousand stories must be told. A thousand names to be read. Their lovely photographs we hold and whisper to, one more goodnight. So many candles in the dark that we must light.”
The outpouring of support for the Chicago vigil effort is unprecedented. Local companies who have made in-kind donations to the event include: American Music World; Chicago Scenic; Design Studio Furnishings; and Exposition Flooring Design Center, Inc. and MPEA the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (Navy Pier).
Prior to and after the vigil, attendees are invited to visit Target Chicago, which opened at Navy Pier in December, 2006 and will continue through September 15, 2007. The exhibit is part of the DEA Museum’s national traveling exhibit Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause. Target Chicago presents a historical look at the Chicago drug law enforcement community’s response to the drug threat over the past one hundred years, and the evolution of drug abuse prevention and treatment programs in the city. The exhibit also has a display of “Lost Talent,” which shows individuals whose lives and contributions to society were tragically cut short due to drugs and drug related violence. It includes everyday Americans as well as law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The exhibit is located on the lower level, Terrace A, adjacent to the Smith Museum of Stained Glass.
For more information about “The Vigil for Lost Promise,” visit the Chicago Vigil’s website at www.deamuseum.org/chicagovigil.
Established in 2001, the DEA Museum Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization that exists to support the DEA Museum through fundraising, advocacy and educational outreach, exhibit sponsorship and educational program development. This true public/private partnership enriches the programs of the Museum, which serve to educate the American public on the many costs and consequences of illegal drugs on our society.