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.
Therese has been involved with helping struggling teens and families for over 10 years and understands how addiction can turn lives upside down. She believes in educating and supporting families as they go through difficult times with their loved ones. Therese joined the HERO Board of Directors to help fight against the opioid crisis and to offer hope and help to those that struggle.
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.
After a long lonely struggle as a parent of an addicted child, Maureen turn to HERO for some much-needed support. Seeing firsthand the tragedy of this opiate epidemic has unleashed not only in Maureen's family, the family of her friends and neighbors, but on the nation as a whole. Maureen has been the driving force in helping her daughter staying sober for over a year. Maureen attributes much of her success in her ability to approve her daughters life to the HERO program and now wants to help Others by taking a more prominent role in this 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.