HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A story of bravery and hope was on display at the third annual Tribute to Courage and Recovery event held Tuesday night at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center, where victims lost to addiction were remembered and those still fighting were empowered.
"I became addicted to opioids following a miscarriage in 2008," Angela Mallette said.
Mallette's life began to fall apart as she continued to fight addiction.
"It took about 9 months before I was fully addicted, and addiction just chewed me up and spit me out," Mallette said. "I lost my home, my job. I was arrested. I was incarcerated."
She was ordered by a court to seek treatment in 2013, and now she is fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.
"Since then I have completely embraced recovery," Mallette said. "I now work for the Stand Up, Mississippi project. I am their outreach coordinator. So, I advocate for recovery changes and advocate for recovery policy around the state."
James Moore's son, Jeffrey, died from an accidental heroin overdose in 2015. Now, he stands with many other supporters shedding light on the problems and how they can be solved, remembering those who lost their lives and helping others on the path to recovery.
"It's always very emotional, but I realize I am not alone," Moore said. "There are many families that have faced the same loss we have. It's empowering to perhaps be apart of the recovery of those who have the chance to still overcome this disease.'
Local speakers from the recovery, faith and medical community took part in the event.
Officers from the Jones County Sheriff's Department and Laurel Police Department were also honored for their duties using Narcan to save livesn from overdose.
"I could tell you the darkest, darkest days of my life have turned into these beautiful days here," Mallette said.