SPARK of Madison County
PO Box 242
Richmond, Kentucky 40476
Director-Laura Helvey 859-248-6564
Casey Law Advocates:
Marti Hackworth 859-893-5543
Nicki Arnold-Strunck 859-421-0794
Ellie Wall 317-809-1335
SPARK Main Office
29 Atkinson Street
Stanton, KY 40380
Founder-Jenell Brewer 859-771-3021
Office Manager-Wendy Anderson 606-344-4103
I never thought addiction would be a part of my life. I didn't think it would happen to my family. But it did. I was ashamed, lost, hurt and angry. How could my sister and I be on such different paths? Our parents gave us everything we needed and more. Through Nar-Anon, I was able to learn how to detach with love, be less judgmental, not be ashamed, set boundaries and trust God.
It hasn't been an easy road, but one I wouldn't change. Sounds crazy I know, but this journey has led me to help starting a SPARK Ministries office in Madison County, Kentucky. I want substance abusers to know they are loved by God and life is worth living. I want families to know this is addiction disease, in whatever form it shows itself. Smoking, eating, drugs, exercising, shopping, gambling, etc.
At the start of 2020, my sister celebrated two years of recovery and our family went to Disney World to celebrate our family being a family again. We still live one day at a time, but the days are getting better and better! Recovery is possible!
Being the mom of an addict was something that I never imagined would happen to me. I didn't drink around my children, they certainly weren't raised with alcohol in the fridge. I didn't do drugs and I always told them don't do drugs, drugs are bad. You know gave them the speech we were all supposed to give our kids about drugs.
I considered myself a good person, I worked every day and had a career with the state of Kentucky. I tried to provide everything my children could possibly need and much more. Our home was always filled with loads of kids.
We realized Daniel was drinking and smoking pot in high school. Although we punished him by grounding and taking things away, we also thought this is just something most teenagers experiment with. What I did not realize was that my beautiful chubby cheeked baby had a real problem. In May 2017, Mother's Day weekend my family had a cookout and I picked Daniel up to attend. He wouldn't get out of the car, he sat there crying. My brother called me afterwards and said Laura we think Daniel, is doing more than just smoking pot. It turned out, he was. Daniel agreed to treatment in September. By mid October he was out and back to his old ways. In January 2018 I did Casey's Law on him. Daniel completed his year of ordered treatment and voluntarily stayed in IOP for another 6 months in California. When Daniel returned to our hometown area in May he struggled. And on September 14, 2019 he lost his battle to addiction with lethal fentanyl overdose. And that is the day my world changed forever. Daniel's struggles ended and mine began.
From that moment I made a decision to stop being complacent with the way things were in Madison County. With a 24% increase in overdose deaths from 2018-2019, I couldn't sit back and watch more beautiful souls be lost to overdose and not do something. In December I decided to take the lead on the SPARK Ministries in Madison County. I ask God every day to let me know if I am doing what he wants and if not just let me know and I will stop. So far he has opened so many doors. I want to help those whose voice is weak from battling substance use disorder. In the hurricane of addiction, there are already so many obstacles for those for suffer and those who love those who suffer. I want to ease those struggles and help as many as possible seek treatment and harm reduction resources. In order to recover, they have to survive. In honor of my son Daniel, I will fight for those who need it until God instructs me otherwise.
Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I started a Nar-Anon meeting in Madison county three years ago to help me cope with my son’s substance abuse and to help others families who are devastated by this disease. Through this meeting, myself and others have witnessed the impact this drug epidemic is having on so many families. Our loves ones are dying!
We decided to join with SPARK Ministry to help substance abusers in our county to get help and assist families file Casey’s Law petition. There are many substance abusers deep in addiction, they will die if they don’t get help and away from drugs. Most of us in Spark have filed Casey’s Law on our love ones and while there is no guarantee it will work, it is all we can do to try to try save them! We are lucky to have this law in our state.
My son is in recovery today because he committed to long term rehab, learning how and wanting to fight his disease head on. The drugs on our streets do not give them a chance to hit bottom! As a community, we have to understand addiction and fight to help others who have this disease!
My name is Nikki Strunck and I am an advocate and educator to bring awareness to overdose in the state and Madison County where I grew up, went to Madison Central and attended EKU. I work with the US Attorneys H.E.A.T. (Heroin Education Action Team) and was part of Gov. Benin’s “Don’t Let Them Die” campaign to change the stigma about addiction.
My fight and voice for those bound in addiction and to help those in recovery began January 2nd, 2016, the day I found my only child, my son Brendan deceased in my bathroom due to accidental overdose from heroin laced fentynal. He was waiting on a bed to be ready for him on January 4th in treatment. He told me 8 hours before that “Mom, I know what you think I’m doing and I don’t want to do that anymore”. I believe that with all my heart. No one in addiction WANTS to live that life.
S.P.A.R.K. is important to me because it gives those who love an addict and are watching them die slowly in front of them, a chance to do SOMETHING when those in substance abuse disorder can’t think clearly to do so for themselves. It helped me with feeling hopeless in Brendans addiction. I filed Casey’s Law in Madison County in 2011 when no one knew about the law here. I was ADAMANT that someone would look it up and enact it on my son.
Though my son ultimately lost his life to this disease of addiction, it gave me more time with him and a chance to get him help. I do this in memory of my son, Brendan Austin Strunck, so that no one will have to bury a loved one and deal with the the loss I feel daily.
Brendan Austin Strunck
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our team has helped dozens of families and individuals battling addiction. We can help you.
Education and Training
Educating families on addiction
Casey’s Law Training
Training Volunteers and Interns
Assisting families to file Casey’s Law
Connecting individuals to recovery outlets (Counselors, outpatient services, support meetings, etc.)
Connecting individuals to facilities (Homeless shelters, sober living, detox, rehab, etc.)
Connecting Back to the Community
Establish peer support
Second Chance Employment, assisting with job placement (including convicted felons)
SPARK Internship Program
Job skills training