Matthew Kirk passed away on April 2, 2009. Billy Roberts, was lost to a drug overdose on September 20, 2009. Following their tragic loss, these “two dads” joined together and began seeking ways to help other families who suffered the loss of a loved one due to an overdose. After a short time it became clean to both Brian and John the most effective way they could help was to make others aware of the growing heroin epidemic and support programs and initiatives that might prevent others from having to endure the loss of a loved one to a drug overdose.
Brian and John are just “two dads” but they are making a difference and it is mostly because they chose to take a stand. They are now conveying that message to others with the hope they will join the fight.
Brian and John welcome all who choose to take a stand against the heroin epidemic by referring to them by the name they earned through their willingness to protect the innocent from harm - they call them Heroes.
Because of John and Brian’s desire to get the word out they founded HERO (Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization)
HERO’s Family Support Group (FSG) began meeting at Provena St. Joseph Hospital of Joliet in the beginning of 2010. The FSG continued to meet there until the end of 2012.
After John and Brian spoke at Lincolnway Central in New Lenox in November, 2012, they were approached by Lincolnway Christian Church and asked how the church could help. After communications between HERO and the church, it was decided that HERO would move their meetings to the church. The first meeting for the FSG at Lincolnway Christian Church was January 8, 2013. At that time the FSG was meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. That schedule continued until the beginning of 2016 when we increased the meetings to every week.
The Grief Support Group (GSG) began in 2011 and has continued to meet monthly. As of July of 2016, that schedule will change to twice a month on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Calvart Church in Orland Park, Illinois.
The first rally or “March of Heroes” was on April 30, 2011 which in turn became the HEROES/HELPS/SOUTHWEST COALITION COMMUNITY Forum. This rally took between 6 to 8 months to set up. This past year there were over 500 people at this Forum.
Kathy Cheaven’s last month with HERO was February, 2015
Arlene’s last Grief Support meeting in Homer Glen at the First Apostolic Church was July of 2015
Arlene’s First Meeting as lead facilitator was June 2, 2015 at the First Apostolic Church in Homer Glen