June 22, 2015 — The Kingfisher Project was created to honor the life of Rebecca Pisall who was 20 when she died in June 2014 after she was shot in a dispute over a $20 bag of heroin she desperately needed due to her addiction.

At the time of the founding of the Kingfisher Project in December 2014, it was clear that we wanted to honor all lives lost to addiction. Today, on the one-year anniversary of Rebecca’s death, we launch this page. It celebrates those lives and welcomes participation from all families who have lost a loved one. It is also meant to put a face — really many faces — on the toll that addiction has taken.

We lead off this page with an essay, “Will’s Willow,” written by Bill Williams as he grieves the death of his 24-year old son, Will Williams, to an overdose two years ago. Here is Will’s Willow.  A fund, the Where There’s A Will Fund has been established in Will’s name to educate, inform and remove the strain of shame associated with the disease of Substance Use Disorder.

Derrick Clarke had been attending Hofstra University and then returned home and was a stand-out student at Sullivan County Community College. He’d been clean and was writing about his sobriety when he relapsed and died of an apparent heroin overdose in March 2015. He was 21. Derrick had been a student at Sullivan West in the same class as Rebecca Pisall. They shared some of the same teachers. Like Rebecca, Derrick was also assigned a Philosophy of Life essay.  `

Pat Resti, who has been an instrumental part and supporter of the Kingfisher Project, has generously given us this letter from his son, Anthony to share. Anthony Resti died in December of a heroin overdose; he was 26. Pat wrote us this note about the letter: “Barbara, Here is something Anthony wrote to me while in recovery. He was trying so hard at this point and this he wrote to me two months before he lost his battle and went to be with the Lord. … Thank you and God bless.”

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