CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two Middle Tennessee parents are working to give others a way out of addiction after losing their own son to a fentanyl overdose in 2021.
On Saturday, Sept. 9, Anthony Clark and Tonya Garton held their third annual Recovery Quest event in honor of their son, 20-year-old Quintenn Clark. Riverbluff Park was filled with testimony after testimony, showing recovery is possible.
“There is a way out. I’m living proof,” said Jody Montemayor, who is currently in recovery. “I’m 49 years old, and if I can do it at 49, if you’re younger than that, then you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and there is a way out.”
John Terheggen turned his motivation to stay sober into his career, and now helps others in recovery at Buffalo Valley Inc. He encouraged anyone struggling with addiction to reach out for resources, and to know that recovery does become easier after the first couple of days.
“March 2nd of 2024 will be four years for me…I would just say, take a chance and seek recovery, and it’s worth seeking, and it can change your life,” Terheggen told News 2.
Unfortunately some have lost their battle, as shown by two separate photo displays, each illustrating hundreds of lives lost.
“The overdose numbers, 100,000 last year in the United States, but 100,000 is just a big number, it’s just a statistic. These are the faces of the people who have died from this disease,” said Mark Witthauer with the Always Have Heart organization. He lost his son, Greg, to addiction back in 2017.
Quintenn’s face was featured at the front of roughly 400 yard signs, each dedicated to a person who died from addiction. Quintenn was a former Cheatham County student athlete and had been to recovery twice, even reaching a year sober.
“Quintenn didn’t mean to die. He had worked a full day, he paid his rent an hour before he passed away, he had his dinner ready to cook out on his counter,” Garton said.
Quintenn’s dad hopes to warn everyone, especially young people, about how deadly fentanyl is.
“This ain’t the drugs that was whenever we were growing up,” Anthony explained. “This stuff now, like I said, one pill and you’re gone forever.”
He fears the problem of fentanyl will only get worse.
“A lot of these people that are using the drugs are trying to chase that high, and they’re trying to get to the very top without going over the edge, and a lot of times with fentanyl, you go over the edge and you don’t come back,” Anthony explained.
Quintenn’s parents, along with dozens of community partners, were able to raise more than $40,000 at this year’s Recovery Quest. That money will go towards scholarships and treatments for some seeking recovery. Ultimately, they hope Quintenn’s story will help save other lives.
“I would hope Quintenn looks down and sees what his life has done for other people, and it’s not us, this isn’t us doing this, this is our community coming together and really wanting change, and people do recover,” Garton shared.
If you’d like to support the Quintenn Clark Foundation, or find more information about recovery resources, click here.