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Recovering addicts thank first responders for saving people like them

Posted: 3:40 PM, May 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-15 00:04:45Z
Oconomowoc First Responders

OCONOMOWOC — A handful of recovering addicts met with the medical staff responsible for saving people like them.

May 12th to May 18th is National Prevention Week across the United States. It's a week devoted to mental health and substance abuse.

Right in the middle of the week is a somber memory for Lauri Badura.

"I lost my son on May 15, 2014," Badura said. "Unfortunately, he was not resuscitated."

Badura has dedicated her life to honoring her son's memory. She started the group, Saving Others for Archie (SOFA) to do just that. She's helped make the drug Naloxone, better known as Narcan, more accessible to first responders. Over the last two years in Waukesha County, 88 people have been saved by using the drug.

Tuesday, several people who have been saved met with the medical staff to thank them for saving people like them.

"I wouldn't be here if not for first responders like you," Nicole Karas said.

"I'm 80 days clean," Kyle Schmitz said. "Without you guys saving my life, I wouldn't be living proof that recovery works."

Schmitz feels lucky to be alive. When thanking the medical staff at ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, he was met with a familiar face; nurse Maggie Garrett is a family friend.

"It was a great surprise to see him," Garrett said. "To see him healthy and smiling is fabulous."

"She's seen all the bad times, all the good times," Schmitz said. "Life now is so much better and knowing I have that support still from her, my family and other close friends, it's amazing I actually have that second chance to show recovery does work."

Seeing stories like Schmitz's empower Badura. He's around the same age as her son would be today.

"It's the only way I can survive," Badura said. "They're lifting me up and my family."

Wednesday night, SOFA is holding its annual Jump for Archie event at the Oconomowoc City Beach Bandshell at 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit the SOFA Facebook page.