Darryl Strawberry is known as being one of the great baseball players to play for the Mets. Eight-time All-Star, four-time World Series champion and New York Mets Hall of Famer; but just like so many others the Straw Man and his wife have had their fair share of struggles in life including with drug addiction.
They were in Van Wert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center as a part of the Epidemic of Hope conference your speaking about drug addictions. From how they fought their's to how they're using their faith to help others still struggling, Darryl says life is too short not to act.
"Life is not long, life is short," says Strawberry. "It's what you go through and how you overcome, and how do you get to the next phase in life. How do you get to a place of purpose and really helping somebody because we can sit around and talk about problems but if we're not doing anything about the problems the problems won't get resolved."
Wooster Pastor Jerry O'Brien, who organized the Epidemic of Hope tour, says Tracy Strawberry's guide to using faith to recover from addictions was the tool that Ohio pastors needed in order to really get involved in the opioid epidemic, because he says churches are the last to come to the discussion table when they should have been the first.
"We want to get the church armed and we want to do our part," says O'Brien. "We thank God for all of those first responders, the law enforcement, the courts, the medical field, all of the treatment centers that have been out there. Now it's time for the churches to step up and do our part."
Before the main event in the evening, Strawberry and O'Brien held a youth event talking about the issue. Strawberry says it is important to have this discussions with young people because they are just as susceptible to drug abuse. After all, his own drug issues began when he was just a teenager.
He says it is important to take a closer look at what is going on in their personal lives.
"We all project that we have this white picket fence and we live in this great home and nothing every happens," says Strawberry. "If we continue to believe that then we're lying to ourselves and we need to start dealing with the real issues that come out of kids homes in their life."
O'Brien says that showing the next generations that they have people supporting them, from their pastors to their sports heroes, will inspire hope that hey can take on issues like the opioid epidemic and succeed.