Black Balloons raise overdose awareness

Shawn Hardy
Art Kelly helped Vicki Rhodes tie a bundle of balloons on a parking meter on Center Square in Greencastle to help raise overdose awareness on Black Balloon Day Wednesday. Vicki Rhodes lost her daughter, Teri, to a fentanyl overdose in December 2015. Teri's sister, Erin, is Kelly's girlfriend.

Black balloons tied on the parking meters surrounding Center Square in Greencastle on Wednesday were testimony to lives lost to addiction.

Black Balloon Day, marked annually on March 6, to raise overdose awareness, was organized locally for the second year in a row by Vicki Rhodes of Mercersburg, who lost her daughter, Teri Rhodes, to a fentanyl overdose in December 2015. The 1991 graduate of Greencastle-Antrim High School, died a day after her 41st birthday.

Vicki Rhodes was met on the Square by Mike Straley of Greencastle, who got a bunch of balloons in memory of his daughter, Leah Straley. She died on Feb. 14, 2018, also to a fentanyl overdose.

Vicki Rhodes was joined by her husband, Carrol, and Art Kelly, whose girlfriend, Erin Rhodes, is Teri Rhodes' sister.

"I didn't know Teri, but I'm here supporting the family and the cause," Kelly said, explaining he has lost a lot of friends suicide or drugs.

"So many people are sad and self-medicating then they get addicted and the next thing you know they are not with us anymore," said Kelly, who lives in the Coseytown area with Erin.