John co-founded HERO in 2010 after losing his son, Billy Roberts, to heroin. Turning his grief outward he decided to found HERO with the goal of helping families who have gone through similar situations with their own children. As the organization grew John added a focus on prevention and treatment in addition to the original goal of supporting the families of children lost to heroin. John is a retired Chicago Police Department Captain actively involved in heroin-related legislation in Illinois and lives with his family in Homer Glen, Illinois.
Paul Lauridsen is currently working at Stepping Stones Treatment Center in Joliet Illinois and works closely with the Southwest Coalition Against Substance Abuse in addition to his work with HERO.
Jan became involved with HERO when her nephew began using heroin. She began attending HERO's Family Support meetings to learn how to help, without enabling, her nephew. She credits HERO with teaching her the skills she needed and to help her understand this destructive disease. Her nephew has been sober since 2014, graduated college and is living a very productive life.
Hello, my name is LaSondra. I am a proud mother of four adult children, and grandchildren. I love the outdoors, traveling, and animals. I have been going to HERO meetings for about 3 years now. I have been a child of, sibling to, friend, and mother of individuals who suffer with addictions. I had first learned of this organization when I went to a PASS event, and the trailer was on exhibit. Soon after I became a frequent visitor. This lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and helped me understand I was not the only person that was struggling. At that moment I realized that this was the perfect organization for me, and I hope to make an impact on others in the future. I am currently a board member and my duties include helping with grief and family support meetings, promoting HERO with the marketing team, assisting with tours of the “hidden in plain sight” trailer. I am also trained in use/administration of Narcan in emergent situations. Most importantly, I want to break the stigma associated with addiction, in terms of families who are struggling and coping with addiction. The community should know that it can happen to anyone, and there are people who can help support them in their time of need.
"I have gratefully accepted the opportunity to work alongside great individuals and an amazing organization. I have three and a half years clean from any mood or mind altering substances while actively participating in a 12 step program (HA). I chair, and am also a home group member, for the Thursday night New Lenox “The Fix” HA meeting. My desire is to bring my experience and strength to HERO in hopes of ending the stigma and showing others there is a way out of the crippling effects of addiction. I spent 30 years stuck within trauma and my addiction. Only by the grace of my higher power, 12 steps, and caring individuals, am I here today to tell you “we do recover.” I hopefully have the ability today to use my experience to help others who are still sick and suffering. I have witnessed, first hand, HERO do amazing work within the community and with families in need. It is an honor to be included as a part of their mission. "