Palmerton man warns against drug use
Devin Isabella of Palmerton holds this sign and a picture of his late friend, Michael Graham, while standing along South First Street in Lehighton Tuesday night. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app for a video. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
From left, Maren Schoenberger, Troy Schoenberger, Mia Schoenberger, Devin Isabella and Jessica Kemmerer proudly display signs while standing in Lehighton’s lower park. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
Devin Isabella is a man on a mission.
For the past three weeks, Isabella has been seen walking throughout sections of Lehighton and Weissport holding up a sign.
His message is clear: “Stop selling drugs to my friends.”
Isabella said he purposely picked Tuesdays to walk with his sign because it’s the day of the week that his friend, Michael Graham, passed away.
Several of his friends, including Troy Schoenberger and Jessica Kemmerer of Lehighton, have joined in the cause.
Dealing with the loss of a friend
Isabella said this past Tuesday marked a month that Graham, 34, of Lehighton, has been gone.
“From the pain I felt from it, it’s also helped me,” Isabella said. “Michael was in recovery.”
Isabella said he and Graham had forged a strong bond as friends.
“Mike Graham was really close to my heart,” he said. “I really wanted to help that guy.”
Schoenberger also spoke highly of Graham.
“He put everybody’s feelings before himself,” Schoenberger said. “Bad things happened to a good guy.”
Spreading their message
Kemmerer said the group joined together to spread the word.
“It’s just bringing awareness to the problem going on in Lehighton,” Kemmerer said. “There needs to be stiffer penalties for people who sell drugs.”
Since he began walking with his sign, Isabella said many a passer-by has come up to the group to tell them of their losses due to drugs.
“These signs hit home,” he said. “We have people coming up to us crying telling us their story.”
Isabella said the group has received plenty of support.
“We were smiling, it was so overwhelming,” he said. “This is something great.”
Isabella said the group is thinking about starting up its own Facebook page.
“Obviously, every town has a (drug) problem,” he said. “They have a voice now.”