• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

'Remembering Rachel' set for Friday, Aug. 12

The friends and family of Rachel Hood will gather at the Woodford County Park on Friday, Aug. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m., to remember a mother of six children who died of a heroin overdose on Aug. 12, 2013, at age 28. The third annual "Remembering Rachel" gathering is being hosted by Raising Awareness Woodford County (R.A.W.). Angie Stewart, of R.A.W., says Rachel's mom, Martha Kragel, was having a really rough time on the first anniversary of her daughter's death when she and a friend organized "Remembering Rachel" so others could show their love and support for Rachel's children and mom. A memory box filled with notes at the gathering will again be given to Rachel's children. They will sometimes read what others have written about a mom whom her youngest daughter and son do not remember. "The memory box," says Stewart, "is a special thing to them." Jennifer Powell, who lost younger sister Jolene Berger-Bowman to a drug overdose on July 1, 2015, and has been involved in organizing this year's "Remembering Rachel" gathering, wrote in an email that the community event honors "the life of a beautiful young lady who lost her battle with addiction and for anyone interested in fellowship, acceptance, understanding, and support in addiction and recovery." In addition to food, games and activities for children and adults, "Remembering Rachel" will offer information to anyone who needs help in their own substance abuse and recovery. "This is a good opportunity for R.A.W. to raise awareness," says Stewart. She and several other recovering addicts in the community organized the nonprofit known as R.A.W. and support community gatherings like "Remembering Rachel" so others don't forget that drug abuse and addiction are issues that must be discussed and dealt with as a community. Whether it's for the parent of an addicted son or daughter, or a person addicted to drugs, Stewart describes "Remembering Rachel" as a way to remember a very special person, and an opportunity to talk with others who are facing the realities of drug abuse in their lives. "Come out and talk to us. Sit down and eat some food. And watch the kids play . in a safe and sober environment," says Stewart.

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