Zachary was full of life and loved everyone and everything around him. He got involved in drugs in his early 20s, starting with Oxys while partying with some friends. Like most, he thought he had a handle on it, but he did not. No one ever does. His use turned to heroin. I, his mother, was unaware of this in the beginning, and as a mother, you never want to believe such things.
He struggled with his addiction for four long years. He had the love, support, and help of family and friends and he got clean. He was clean for a year. Then one day, Friday, February 24, 2017, he came to my office, bursting with energy and filled with excitement because his driver’s license had just been returned. He was so happy. He had purchased a new truck, had his welding certification reinstated, and was starting a new job with a company he had yearned to work for.
Zachary was on top of the world. Everything was going his way. The last thing he said to me, as he walked out of my office, was “Mom, Braley is back.” That is the last time I saw him. Those were the last words I heard.
We were supposed to have dinner together that night, but he texted me to reschedule for Saturday night. He said he was running behind on errands that he had to do before leaving the State on Monday and so the whole family could be together.
The next morning, I got a call that my baby was dead.
The pain I live with every day is indescribable. A mother should never bury her son. The only way I can get through my days is to try to help others, and maybe prevent another mother from experiencing this tragedy.
I decided to try to do something about this horrible epidemic and with the help and support of my family, the Zachary Project was born. Our mission has been to raise money, and spread education, and awareness while working on the ultimate goal of having a Zachary House in the Newport area where people can go to recover and start over with new lives.
I have learned so much since that February day, and I am still learning. The Zachary Project is helping people with addiction get into programs, assists with some living expenses, and provides critical support.
The Zachary Project is my mission to save lives. It is changing my life. If I can help others who are struggling with addiction and hopefully prevent more senseless deaths, then my son did not die in vain. Together we can make a difference.
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