Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

MRPC to host Black Balloon Day events in Rolla, Cuba March 5

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Jane Johannsen or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) through the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI) is hosting two Black Balloon Day events at Stonehenge, University of Missouri S&T, Rolla and People’s Bank, Cuba from 9:30 to 11:30 on March 5. MRPC chose to move its celebrations to March 5 due location availability in our region.

Black Balloon Day, held March 6 of each year, is a nationally recognized event created for families who have lost family members and loved ones. By participating in the event, MRPC hopes to create awareness of the opioid problem and provide support to those struggling with opioid use disorder and their loved ones. The event was started by Diane and Lauren Hurley in remembrance of Greg Tremblay. Tremblay was a father of four and was Diane’s son-in-law and Lauren’s brother-in-law who died of an overdose at the age of 38 on March 6, 2015.

From 2010-2018, 246 individuals died from opioid-related overdoses in the eight-county Meramec Region. MRPC will commemorate those lives lost on Black Balloon Day by installing a memorial in front of the organization’s building. Awareness ads are planned in area papers and on local radio stations.

At each event, MRPC will give participants that ability to leave a painted black balloon and note to their loved one on a large piece of paper that will be put on display and shared virtually.  Additionally, participants will have the ability to take a picture with a personal note to their lost loved one that will be shared on MRPC’s social media. Individuals who cannot attend one of the events are encouraged to commemorate their loved ones and share those pictures with MRPC via Facebook or Twitter. 

For more information, follow MRPC on Facebook and visit the MRPC website for details closer to March 5. MRPC’s website has a special section devoted to opioid awareness and links to resources to assist persons suffering from addiction and their family members to find help locally. 

OAYI is a three-year cooperative award through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The project was created to develop data-driven, coordinated responses to identify and address challenges, resulting from opioid misuse, that is impacting youth and community safety in the eight-county Meramec Region. 

OAYI’s mission is to educate youth and families on opioid-misuse prevention and serve as a conduit to expand availability and knowledge of intervention and recovery programs in the Meramec Region of Missouri. 

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 34 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.