By AMANDA ARNOLD
JEFFERSONVILLE — For 10 years, William Dee Cundiff struggled with addiction, but he found strength and treatment at the Serenity House in Jeffersonville. When he lost his life in a car accident in October 2012, his mother, Peggy Cundiff, knew she had to do something positive in her son’s memory.
“Literally, the day after I lost my son, I knew I had to do this,” Cundiff said about the Rock 4 Recovery event — a benefit for Jeffersonville’s Serenity House — which was held on Saturday evening at Kye’s.
“Earlier in the year, Will had his dad purchase skateboards. He was going to paint them to benefit the Serenity House, but that didn’t happen. I knew I had to do this,” said Cundiff.
Shortly after losing her son, she met John and Vicky Denney, who also lost her son Brian to addiction and wanted to help support the Serenity House.
While the Denneys’ son was not at the Jeffersonville treatment complex, he received treatment in other locations.
“We know how vital they (halfway houses) are, so we knew when we had the opportunity to help, we couldn’t pass it up,” said Vicky Denney.
The Serenity House did indeed benefit from the popular Rock 4 Recovery where everyone donated their time for the benefit. Vendors included Orange Clover Kitchen & More, Adrienne & Co., and Sancho Miguel’s Salsa.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity. This is a wonderful event, and is a good cause. We hope it builds a stronger and better community for everyone,” said Miguel Hampton, of F5 Enterprises, LLC. and Sancho Miguel’s Salsa.
Rachel Smallwood of Orange Clover Kitchen & More also expressed her gratitude to provide food at the event.
More than 60 items were also donated for the silent and live auctions, including pieces of artwork by local artists Dixie Busby and Guy Tedesco, who auctioned his piece for $1,150.
“It's about recovery. I thought about addiction being a mask and putting a life together from all these scraps. There’s a lot of texture to it,” said Tedesco.
Busby’s piece, “The Will to Live,” also had significance.
“The bottom represents the asphalt in the street and adversity, and it’s just rough. It can be anything that holds you back. It doesn't seem anything would grow out of asphalt, but it does and it has the will to live,” said Busby, who has been friends with Cundiff for 30 years.
Busby reminded everyone that when struggling with addiction, “realize that you are loved and needed. You are needed to be whole, healthy and responsible. You can choose and have the will to live drug free.”
Mick McFarland, director of Serenity House, explained that’s their job at the recovery complex.
“Any addict or alcoholic is bankrupt mentally and spiritually. Our job is to help change the way of thinking. They have a job to do too,” said McFarland, who encourages clients to stay for six month to a year. Recovery leads to the clients becoming better for their family and self.
Randy Chandler found help at the Serenity House 19 years ago and was at Saturday’s event to support the complex.
“They taught me to grow up and got me sober. They taught me responsibility. I went in at 25, but was thinking like a 15 year old. They did a lot of good helping me grow up,” said Chandler, who now sponsors other people in need of help.
More events are to come, as the Rock 4 Recovery is part of the Rock! Roll! Run! On May 25, there will be the Run 4 Recovery and on June 9 there will be Roll 4 Recovery, which will be a motorcycle run.
“I am just amazed at the great turnout. You always hope for the biggest number, but I’m just so grateful that so many people came out,” said Alicia Denney-Kane.
She was most grateful because of how much addiction touches everyone, but she was often quiet about her brother’s addiction.
“Now I’m telling his story because you can make it with places like the Serenity House. People want to help. Your family cares more about you than you’ll ever know,” said Denney-Kane.