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.
Brian Kirk is the other half of the founding members of HERO. Brian lost his son, Matt Kirk, to a heroin overdose around the same period as John. After meeting and becoming close friends, Brian and John founded HERO together to cope with the loss of their sons. Brian has been instrumental in getting HERO started and in organizing the inaugural event. He retired from the University of Illinois at Chicago and resides in New Lenox, 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.
Terrie Stoeckley became involved with HERO in 2013 when a friend lost a child to a heroin overdose. She noticed a growing issue in her community, as several other friends were being impacted. She began to ask questions and hear more about the heroin epidemic, meeting John Roberts and Brian Kirk. Terrie developed a passion to support families who are dealing with the effects of addiction. She became a certified Naloxone trainer, and has helped many families learn how to save their loved ones. Terrie lives with her family in New Lenox, Illinois.
Jan Dombrowski became involved with HERO when a nephew started using heroin. She began attending HERO’s Family Support Meetings to learn how to care for her nephew. She credits HERO with helping her nephew to stop using heroin, and today he has over 4 years sober, is attending college and made the Dean’s List.
Kim Conte became involved with HERO in 2018 when she lost her brother to a heroin overdose. Kim is a former New York City police officer and is currently working for the Chicago Police Department. As a police officer, Kim is able to reach out to people in need of help, as well as speak to students in the Chicago Public Schools about the importance of drug awareness.