copyright the Chronicle June 28, 201
by Joseph Gresser
NEWPORT — Tara Patten called Charles Buckland Jr. “my best friend” as she talked about his overdose death. She was speaking to a crowd of around 80 people gathered around the gazebo in Gardner Park here Saturday.
In front of the stage, a cluster of 104 small purple flags indicated how many people died last year from overdoses.
Mr. Buckland died from a fentanyl overdose in December 2014. Ms. Patten said he was a loving, caring, and funny man, who had a problem that took his life.
The crowd gathered to hear her speak was there because of a result of a pledge Ms. Patten made after Mr. Buckland’s death. She pledged to do something for those struggling with opiates in the Northeast Kingdom, specifically to create a sober living center in the area, complete with the services someone in recovery might need.
Ms. Patten’s first step was organizing NEK Stand Strong. The nonprofit is just getting its legs under it and waiting to get tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
Saturday’s Overdose Awareness and Memorial Walk was the first step in achieving her organization’s main aim, Ms. Patten said.
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