Loved ones remember those lost to addiction at Washington County candlelight vigil

NOW: Loved ones remember those lost to addiction at Washington County candlelight vigil

The holidays can be tough for those that have lost loved ones.

For three years, non-profit, Elevate has put on a candlelight vigil to help families that have lost a loved one to any addiction.

“The events will allow those attending to remember those who are not able to be here to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones,”said Ronna Corliss, Elevate County Prevention Manager and Chair for the Washington County Heroin Task Force.

"They're going to be going and they're going to look at a christmas tree, and they're going to look at someone's stocking that's not there any more or chrismas dinner and there's an empty chair at the table."

Loved ones lost were remembered with songs, prayers and stories. The Krueger family was thinking about daughter and sister, Dakota.

"She was sassy and crazy and definitely my best friend, and she was a one of a kind person. You're definitely never going to find another Dakota," said Serenity Krueger, Dakota's sister.

Dakota died at age 22 on September 6, 2016 of an overdose. Serenity wants to take the stigma away from addiction.

"These people aren't dirty; they aren't junkees; they're in the suburbs; they're sitting in AP honors classes," said Serenity Krueger.

"Growing up, she was -- the kids were raised totally against drugs. She was bullied in high school for her strong beliefs against drugs. Unfortunately, when she turned 18, she started dating an alcoholic who she thought she could change, and they got in an altercation one night, and he broke her jaw, and they put her on narcotic pain medicine and she instantly was addicted to narcotics," said Kelley Krueger, Dakota's mom.

It's the 3rd year Ronna Corliss helped put on the candlelight vigil. She says sharing with others has helped families through tough times.

"It's a good way to remind them that even though there were struggles, there was also some really happy times," said Corliss.

Elevate, Stop Heroin Now, and the Washington County Task Force will hold a second vigil, Sunday, December 17 at the Richfield Fire Station #1 located at 2008 WI-175, Richfield, WI from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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