Designed to bring community awareness to the problem of drug and alcohol abuse, the second annual Cody Wentz Walk/Bike Ride Benefit recently took place in Weissport.
Coordinated by family and friends, the event is held in memory of Cody Wentz, who died from a drug overdose on Nov. 29, 2010. He was 19 years old.
The walk began at 10 a.m. at the Canal, with other festivities following in Weissport Park.
"It does not matter what type of family you have," said Lisa Shiffert, Wentz's mother. "It can happen to anyone. Pay attention to your children and who they are hanging around with."
Lehighton Area High School Principal and Coordinator of Curriculum and Grant Writing Tim Tkach added, "Drug and alcohol abuse is not a school issue. It's a community issue and we are helping to address it."
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force to help fund programs that educate our youth and community.
The profit from last year's event helped to fund the local presentations by former NBA player Chris Herren this past spring. Herren's battles with substance abuse are the subject of ESPN's Emmy-nominated documentary "Unguarded." The film covers his rise, fall, and redemption both on and off the court.
"If I can help to save one other family from going through this, it's all worth it," said Shiffert.
Entertainment for the benefit was provided by the band Rehab. Other festivities included a Chinese Auction; bake sale; 50/50 raffle; juggling acts; dunk tank; bounce and play; Nails by Theresa DaCosta; and food and drink.
Partners for the event include Beltzville Lions Club; Big Lots Stores, Inc.; Blue Mountain Machine Shop; Lehighton Area High School SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) Team; R.F. Ohl Fuel Oil, Inc.; the band Rehab; Sure Fit, Inc.; and Wild Mountain Hawgs.