We asked our Board of Directors the question of Why?
“In 2014 Steve Wright and I heard Robert Stutman from the Stutman Switalski Group speak about substance abuse and the responsibilities an employer has for their company/employees. The speech literally changed my life and ultimately the direction of Wright Brothers.
“A common phrase I use is ‘if you don’t know you don’t know, that’s bad enough. However, when we know and do nothing, it’s unacceptable.’ The presentation took away not knowing, and upon deeper investigation, we determined the whole community also needed to be made aware.
Tommy Farmer from TBI said it best, ‘If we don’t do something soon, we will lose an entire generation to opiates.’
“This is the largest epidemic our country has ever known. It knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate. If we are to leave a better world for our younger generations, then we must all find our voice and do something.
“This is why I’m here, to stand up and help bring Awareness to the community, shed a light on where to find Treatment and bring hope for Sustainability.”—Scott Elam, Chairman of the Board, ATS—The Bridge, and Director of Safety and Risk Management for Wright Brothers Construction Company
“Our interest is driven by coming to the understanding how devastating the opioid issues are to the community, to our families and the impact it is having on all aspects of our lives.”—Stephen D. Wright, Treasurer, ATS—The Bridge, and President, Wright Brothers Construction Company Inc.
“While attending a community meeting at Pangle Hall two-plus years ago, I learned that we in Cleveland and Bradley have a youth drug problem. We were also told that our kids think we do not want to hear about this serious problem and that we parents, leaders and churches do not care. The serious and deadly impact of opiates on our children gripped my mind, but the fact that I have six grandchildren, ages 15 to 5 years, gripped my heart. I knew I must do something about it, but how could I do anything to make an impact? Then six men joined me, and from our first meeting of ATS (even before it was named), we knew we had a mission and that God was with us. In every meeting and event, we sensed a deep purpose to impact our community. I have only gotten more committed to the mission to help our youth live their lives drug free. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).”—Bill Winters, Secretary, ATS—The Bridge, and Bradley County Commissioner
“Public service isn’t a career, it’s a calling. We are called to serve our neighbors. Serving at ATS—The Bridge allows me to give back to my community in a tangible and meaningful way … by ending the scourge of opioid and prescription abuse in Bradley County.”—Rep. Kevin Brooks, Member. Tennessee House of Representatives
“The reason I serve is simple, Reagan and Holden. I don’t want my children, or any others, to grow up and live a life of addiction.”—Steve Hartline, Owner/General Manager,WCLE Mix 104.1
“People ask, ‘Why this cause? Why now?’ My answer is simple. I love people. I chose to be in the people business. That’s not always easy to do, but it is always a gift. I have been brought up close and personal with many who have been, and are being, affected by the tremendous hurt and losses of addiction and overdoses. I believe all of us have a duty, and have been given a commandment, that requires us to do what we can, from right where we are, with what we’ve been given. It has been said that we are losing a generation to drug use, abuse and overdoses. I want to be found faithful in doing whatever possible to stop this epidemic from taking any more from us. People are hurting, and I want to help.”—Steve Morgan, Minister of Pastoral Care, First Baptist Church
“Over my career as a pharmacist, I have seen the escalation in opioid use over the last two decades. I have seen patients go from productive members of our community to members of the prison population because of their misuse and abuse of opioids. I have also witnessed patients who have taken opioids for years, then decided enough is enough and have blossomed to become beautiful, productive community members!
We need to reeducate our prescribers and pharmacists about the dangers of opioid use. As healthcare professionals, we know the potential dangers associated with these medications, even when used as intended. The problems that occur when these medications are used other than as intended are devastating and, sadly, not considered when pen is laid to paper to prescribe these dangerous medications.”—Gina Moser, Pharmacist, Cooke’s Food Store Pharmacy
“As a pastor, I have watched so many individuals and families become ensnared by the drug problem that is plaguing our community. Good, innocent, unsuspecting youth and adults are falling prey to this deadly opioid epidemic. Many have received medicines to deal with pain and recovery, which have become additional strongholds. Feeding the already uncontrolled addictions that are coming from prescribed medications are the street drugs that have become a death trap to many. Joining hands and hearts to care about those who are hurting is what made me want to be a part of the solution to hopefully cure addictions, as well as deter future sons, daughters or grandchildren from becoming future statistics.”—Gary Sears, Pastor of Reaching and Relating, Mt. Olive Ministries
“We must provide a safe school system free from drugs of all kinds—illegal, such as heroin, or legal opioids from the parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinet. ATS—The Bridge aims to help children in middle school and high school find a safe path to adulthood drug free. I have grandchildren, and I feel compelled to do what I can to help them and protect them from this deadly problem. While I served on various committees and boards in the past, I feel this nimble organization, while small, is making a difference in Cleveland/Bradley County.”—Dr. Dewayne Thompson, Dean, School of Business, Lee University