Pharos-Tribune

Local News

October 17, 2013

After tragedy, family turns to hope

Parents who lost son to overdose start nonprofit

FLORA — Brady Noonkester died June 9, 2012, two weeks after his high school graduation, from a prescription drug overdose. But his name lives on in Brady’s Hope, an organization launched in September.

The organization was started by Brady’s parents, Dustin and Jennifer Noonkester, with three goals in mind. The couple aimed to raise $500 to bring a speaker to Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School, $500 to donate to the local DARE program and another $500 to give to the local canine unit.

The Noonkester couple sponsored Wayne Campbell, president of Tyler’s Light, to speak at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School on Tuesday. Tyler’s Light is a forum of information to help people choose a drug-free life and resources for family members or friends who might be abusing drugs, according to its website.

The Noonkesters believe it’s important to provide information about drug abuse to others.

“In little communities, drug addiction and abuse is taboo,” Dustin said. “No one wants to be looked at as an addict.”

The Brady’s Hope website was created to share information about Brady, the organization and information on drugs and available help. Dustin Noonkester said one advantage of the website is that people with questions can find resources and help in the privacy of their home.

The website also shows the common drugs, drugs of choice and some names drugs are now called, Jennifer Noonkester said.

“We had no clue,” she added. “He was a normal kid who was about to leave for the National Guard. We were asking the wrong questions.”

Parents have to know what the right questions are, Jennifer Noonkester said.

Dustin Noonkester agreed, saying on average parents don’t know how bad it is, but police officers and emergency medical personnel often know what’s going on.

Dustin Noonkester also commented on the importance of locking up prescription medicines.

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