UPDATED: 'Night of Stars & Miracles' postponed until the spring

Cary Ashby • Updated Aug 30, 2018 at 8:48 AM

(UPDATED at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018)

Due to a scheduling conflict, “One Mission One Voice: Night of Stars & Miracles” has been postponed until the spring.

It would have taken place this weekend at the Huron County Fairgrounds.

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(ORIGINAL story)

Denny Wilson said one of his dreams always has been “to put a real, positive face to drug addiction and alcoholism.”

“Over the last four or five years, as you know, we (have seen) a lot of images that depict the negative side of what’s going on out there. The one mission, one vision (of) ‘Night of Stars & Miracles’ is just going to do the exact opposite,” said Wilson, founder, president and CEO of FI Community Housing Inc. and Wilson Empowerment.

FI Community Housing and Wilson Empowerment will kick off National Recovery Month with the free “One Mission One Voice: Night of Stars & Miracles” event Saturday at the Huron County Fairgrounds.

“We are starting at 12 p.m. and going all the way through 9 p.m.,” Wilson said. “It’s going to show the world just a few of the 23-plus million individuals living in recovery — some (who) have gone on to to be highly successful in their fields with no shame and some (who) are household names.”

The free event will feature such celebrities as Cleveland Cavaliers QStix percussionist Elec Simon, chef Stephan Baity and actor Edward Furlong (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “American History X”). Baity is a Canton native who is an American Culinary Federation winner. He also won the “Christmas Cake Wars” on the Food Network.

Simon and his band were the featured performers for the 2017 gala for A Celebration of the Arts at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center. The national anti-bullying activist also spoke at Western Reserve Local Schools about tolerance and team work in May 2016.

“Elec and I belong to a national organization we were elected into,” Wilson said. “Be Me is a nationwide organization and operating out of seven prominent cities that (believes) black males are assets to the community. … Be Me puts a spotlight on those positive black males.”

Many performers or speakers have been affected directly by recovery or are passionate about it.

“These are regular people who have some of the same struggles as you (who) have overcome that and gone on to pursue their dreams,” Wilson said.

Several politicians also are scheduled to speak: State Rep. Dick Sten (R-Norwalk), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan and the Huron County commissioners.


Featured performers

Some of the performers are rapper Mike Gambo and the Jam Walker Band. Wilson said Gambo is a “talented and up-and-coming rap artist who is in recovery” while Walker, who plays a combination of gospel and blues, “is no stranger to Ohio and has been coming in and combating the opioid epidemic since Day One.”

“We did our very best to cover as many genres as possible,” Wilson added, referring to rap, gospel, country, blues and rock.

The rock band Crowfly will perform. The drummer, Tim Estes, is the husband of Dr. Cali Estes, who is scheduled to speak Saturday. Cali Estes is an addiction coach, therapist, a so-called “wellness guru” and founder of Sober on Demand, a mobile rehab service for clients.

Another performer will be singer Jada Vance, who competed on “American Idol.”

“I’m really excited about her because I’ve been a fan of hers since she was on the show,” said Wilson, who referred to Vance as “America’s sweetheart.”


Seeking support

The event is time for anyone impacted by recovery or addiction to seek support.

“If anybody needs help, there is going to be a plethora of resources there to help with this; that’s what we bring to the table,” said Robin “Higgy” Higginbotham, a nationally-certified recovery coach, interventionist and the public relations specialist for FI Community Housing.

“The whole state of Ohio has been decimated by this addiction issue and I’m coming back to play a part in this event,” added Higginbotham, who is from Ohio and is moving back to the Buckeye State from Palm Beach, Fla. “We are losing a whole generation of kids to this disease — and then some — and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

“(This event) showcases prominent people in recovery who faced insurmountable odds to regain control of their life, have career, get their families back and speak out. We need people to stand up and speak out,” he said. “They have struggled with addiction and overcome it.”

Hilliary Leonard started Restoration United of Norwalk, an online support group, two years ago with about 25 members and now has more than 1,400. She said the importance of the “Night of Stars & Miracles” is addressing the “huge problem” with addiction in this area and state from the stage and there’s “living proof” that there are people to support others — no matter what their stage of addiction or recovery is.

“We’re not going to shun you; we’re not going to boot you to the door. We are going to stand behind you every step of the way into recovery,” Leonard said.

“I’ve seen this epidemic in Norwalk personally affect too many families, including my own,” said the Norwalk woman who is in long-term recovery. “My passion is very deep to this community. I have a lot of people in active addiction (who) come to me or will private-message me.

“If I can’t help them, I’m reaching out to these guys,” she said, referring to FI Community Housing. “I will do anything in my power to get someone into a facility.”

FI Community Housing opened in Norwalk in December. The facility at 130 Shady Lane, Suite 100, offers detox, treatment, referral, placement, transportation, grief recovery, peer support and recovery coaching.

“We have directly served about 1,200 individuals, not tracking or including providing service to their family members also,” Wilson said. “We’ve passed out food from here.”

Food will be available during Saturday’s event. 

“We are looking for more partners and vendors to come out. So if there is anybody who has merchandise or resources — not just for the recovery community or families also, they are welcome to contact us,” Wilson said.

Anyone who is interested in joining the event should call 561-275-6735 and ask for “Higgy.”

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