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Project Restoration organizers seek to ‘take back our town’

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By Meaghan Downs

Project Restoration is making a declaration: Anderson County needs to take back its town.
Now.  
Organizers of the Project Restoration prayer walk believe next Saturday’s event — a prayer march from the Anderson County High School to the courthouse to the Lawrenceburg Green — will be a call for unity in fighting addiction and suffering in the county.
Kim Black, executive director of prayer walk sponsor Anderson County Recovery Lifeline Connection, said about 16 churches expressed interest in participating, including a few churches from Franklin County. Event organizers say they’re not sure of the number of people who will walk in Project Restoration, but estimate that they expect no fewer than 200 people.
Black said the march would encourage the faith-based community to “break down the walls of separation” between those with addictions and those without.  
“It’s not an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ problem,” Black said. “It’s a ‘we’ problem.”
Anderson County’s problem begins with young people, according to prayer walk participant and Anderson County Recovery Board of Directors member Miranda Duvall.
Duvall, and a handful of other Anderson County Recovery members, first came up with the idea of organizing a public prayer walk in the midst of conversation about the needs of the Anderson County community.
To her, Duvall said, the prayer walk is more of an acknowledgment that there is a drug problem in Anderson County than a public declaration.  
“It’s a small town, but drugs are taking over our youth, our people,” Duvall said. “It’s not just poor people, rich people. It’s everybody.”
Duvall speaks from first-hand experience. She said she started using drugs at age 14, and went to jail for 98 days in 2011 because of an addiction to the oxycodone and acetaminophen drug Percocet.
“That was a very big wakeup call to me,” Duvall said of her time in prison. “I had time to think about what the drug abuse was doing to me, but also to my kids, my mom. Everybody.”
After a couple relapses, Duvall said, she’s been clean for more than a year and four months. She’s been involved with Anderson County Recovery since January 2012 with the intent to become an instructor with the organization.
She said sharing her story of her past drug addiction has been helpful in her own recovery.
“I wanted people to hear my story, I don’t want everybody to go through all the bad things to finally get clean,” Duvall said.  
The Anderson County Recovery prayer walk is a step in the right direction, she said, but it’s not going to fix everything.
But if the prayer walk gets community members to notice Anderson County Recovery and the classes it offers, Duvall said, so much the better.
“We want the prayer walk to say, “Hey, let’s take back our town… let’s get back to what we were,” Duvall, whose fiancé and children will be attending the walk with her, said.
Anderson County’s problems aren’t any worse than any other county, fellow Project Restoration participant Brittany Price said.
The purpose of the walk, Price said, is to show publicly how serious Anderson County Recovery is in helping the community.
“We are not trying to ‘Christianize’ our city,” she said, explaining earlier that the courthouse stop was included so that participants can cover government officials in prayer, and also to allow a shorter walk for some marchers to the Green. “We’re not here to try to change what you believe. We just want you to know that we care.”
The prayer walk is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Anderson County High School ninth grade wing, and will follow a route down Broadway to Main Street, where the first group of marchers will meet up with a second group at the Anderson County courthouse.
The walk will then continue to the Lawrenceburg Green, where a worship and prayer service will be held.

Project Restoration
prayer walk
When: Oct.  6
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: There will be three separate starting points for the prayer walk: one at the Anderson County High School by the ninth grade wing, one at the Anderson County courthouse and one at the Lawrenceburg Green. Participants will begin the prayer walk at the high school, then follow Broadway and turn left on Main Street to meet up with the second group at the courthouse, and then end the walk with a worship service on the Green.
Participants are asked to bring chairs to the Green prior to starting at the high school or courthouse, event organizers said.
Transportation will be provided from the Green to the high school to retrieve vehicles left at the high school.
The prayer walk is sponsored by Anderson County Recovery Lifeline Connection, a faith-based support group organization that formed in November 2011. Anderson County Recovery offers classes for grief counseling, drug and alcohol addiction and more.
Anderson County Recovery can be found on Facebook by searching “Anderson County Recovery” in the Facebook search bar.