Start The Conversation; not just a typical concert event!!

We’ve all been touched in one way or another by the monster known as addiction. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol or gambling I’d be willing to bet that each of us knows someone who is dealing with or dealt with the demons. Unfortunately all too often by the time we realize that so-and-so had a problem it is too late.

That is the reason that Ed Schetter, the State Executive Director of Abate of Ohio, has come front and center to lead the way to an event called Start The Conversation (A day of heroin awareness education) which takes place on August 12th at Cowboys and Angels/Venue 18 in Fostoria, Ohio.

There are many activities that will be taking place including keynote speakers who have dealt head on with the debilitating issue who will share their stories.

Rachael’s Ride is an AMA sanctioned bike run that is slated to travel to the surrounding area to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have been lost to their fight against addiction.

Things will conclude back at Cowboys and Angels/Venue 18 with live music from Silence the Echoes, Bones of Giants, Autumn Burning and Grind (an Alice in Chains tribute band). Autumn Burning is the only band that I have personally seen so I am looking forward to hearing some new musicians especially due to the fact that they are there for this tremendous cause. That speaks volumes in my book!

Silence the Echos will get the entertainment started with an hour set beginning at 5:30. Mike Palmer and Ashley Gomez share the lead vocal role for the band who calls Findlay home. Johnathon Peeler and Rob Rodabaugh handle the guitar work while John Schumaker (bass) and Todd Roth (drums) form the rhythm section.

Akron’s Bones of Giants will follow with a twin set. They feature Tony Gonzales on lead vocals, Scott Rechel (lead) and Stu Brewtall (rhythm) tickling the six strings, Phil Brewtall thumping the bass and Terry Merriner pounding the drums.

My boys from August Burning will take the stage at 9:00. Mike Morehouse is the front man for AB while Jeff Welch takes on a new role of playing drums. Jared Blazer is the lead guitarist with Blake Darling manning the rhythm guitar. The duo are a potent one-two unit who can lay down terrific riffs and amazing licks. I can guarantee you’ll like what you hear out of this powerful quartet.

Grind will close out the night’s festivities and what better way to do so than to take a walk down memory lane to hear the songs and sounds of Alice In Chains.

Gary Allen’s vision of paying tribute to AIC’s original singer, Layne Staley, began in 2010. They have played all over the country presenting an astonishing resemblance to the classic grunge band. Allen is the man in the middle while Robert Ray is a virtuoso with the guitar. Billy Price (bass) and David Corbett (drums) thump and beat out the thunder of the rhythm section. I look forward to bringing my vocals and doing a lot of singing along.

While I cover a lot of musical events, this may be one of those that I get the most satisfaction from because it hits close to home. I have known several good people who were taken way before their time because of heroin and other vile drugs. Drugs have also cost me anguish from a family aspect with two sons and a brother currently residing in correctional institutes thanks to decisions they made while falling prey to drugs. I’m fortunate in that none of them paid the ultimate price and I can only hope that they are using their time wisely and come out better men, knowing that drugs are not the answer.

On a good note, I also have a brother (Jim), who is in his heading into his 29th year of recovery from drugs and alcohol. It hasn’t been easy for him but he is the consummate fighter. I am extremely proud to not only call him my brother but also proud of what he has accomplished. I share his trials and tribulations whenever I get the opportunity to do so in hope that it may help turn someone’s life around. Although Jim is a fighter he will tell you that having a solid support group is key. It doesn’t always have to be family, it can be a perfect stranger. No matter who it is, if you know anyone who needs help make sure to at least remind them their are people, such as Ed Schetter, who are out there fighting for their cause. Hopefully there will be many of you there this Saturday to pitch in yourself.

Other sponsor of the event include; The Ohio Mothers Against Heroin, The Fostoria United Way, Mental Health and Recovery Services of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties, ABATE of Ohio, NWO Metal Militia, Reineke Family Dealership, Bowling Transportation, Venue 18, Custom Torso and many more.

The itinerary follows but if you need more information on the event please contact Ed Schetter at 419-937-4341.

The Information Room will be open from Noon until it closes.  Organizations that offer any resources for the addicted or their friend and family will be set up handing out information.

A separate room will have the educational speakers:

12:00 PM: Rachael SmithShe is a 28 year old from Fostoria. She is in recovery after 6 and a half years of using. She is currently training to be an Ohio Peer Supporter. She also lost her brother to heroin addiction 4 years ago. This will be her first time public speaking and she is brave enough to do it her home town.

12:30 PM: Richie Webber— Richie Webber is a 25 year old Recovering Heroin addict and MMA Fighter who founded “Fight For Recovery”. #FightForRecovery is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization which helps to combat the heroin Epidemic in Northwest Ohio, as well as nationwide. Fight for recovery is opening a peer recovery center which will host recovery meetings as well as sober Super Bowl Parties New Year’s Eve parties and other positive sober events. In addition to meetings and events, two Ohio certified recovery coaches will work at the building at all times. So anyone struggling with addiction can talk to someone who has overcame the same issues.
#FightForRecovery also gets people into rehab and drive them to and from rehab as well.

2:00 PM: Mircea HandruMircea is the Executive Director of Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot. Mircea has a Masters Degree from Tiffin University. He is currently serving on the Executive Council for Mental Health and Addiction Boards in Ohio and is Chairperson of the Seneca County Opiate Task Force. Mircea, his wife Erika and their 2 children live in Seneca County. He will have a discussion regarding what is available, how to access treatment and recovery services, and other on-going community projects.

3:00 PM: Stacey Gibson–Stacey Gibson is employed by the Seneca County Board of Health where she is the Director of Health Planning and Education and the Coordinator of the Prevention Partnership, a recipient of the Ohio Coalition of Excellence Award. Stacey earned her Bachelor’s Degree from BGSU, is a Licensed Social Worker and an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant. She has 25 years of experience working in behavioral and public health focusing on high risk, strategic planning and program development.

4:00 PM: Tim Wise–Tim Wise will be speaking at 4:00 regarding Medication Assisted Treatment, Detox Services and other opiate treatment specific services. Tim is Site Director at Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services in Fremont. Tim is a Licensed professional clinical counsellor for the last 25 years working in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse fields. Tim’s experience includes working with domestic violence offenders, sexual offenders, couples, families and children. Tim is the author of two books, the national selling self-help book: “Stop Running Away” and the novel: “To Right Yesterday”

5:00 PM: Koriann Evans–She is in long term recovery. Breaking the silence, bringing awareness and stopping the stigma are a big part of her recovery. She will be telling her story and speaking about encouraging others and believing in them, that they too can change their life around and have freedom from active addiction.

Where: Cowboys and Angels/Venue18
Venue Location: 11295 W. St. Rt. 18, Fostoria, OH
Venue Phone: 567-245-2680
Venue Web Site:

Entertainment on the Big Stage:

Silence the Echoes 5:30-6:30

Bones of Giants 1st set 7:00-7:45, 2nd set 8:00-8:45

Autumn Burning 9:00-9:45

Grind 10:00-11:40

Rachael’s Ride:

Sign In starts at 11:00 AM

Ride leaves at 1:00 PM

Ride goes from Fostoria to Tiffin to Findlay and back to Fostoria

Bike should be back in Fostoria around 3:30 PM





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Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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