BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- While the Bangor area prepared for another snowstorm a group of brave campers spent their weekend freezing for a reason in an igloo. The four campers spent 3,000 minutes in the icy shelter to represent the 3,000 mile hike they plan to take this spring. They plan on raising money and awareness for addiction recovery.
H. Blake Manz the organizer of 3,000 Miles for Recovery said, "We wanted to do something that caught people's attention. It's real common to hear people's struggles with drugs and alcohol in a negative light...we wanted to get the message across that there is recovery. There is another side to it. People every single day live, I think, a productive life."
The group is made up of recovering addicts themselves. They plan on spreading the word about available recovery options and sharing their stories across the country as they hike from Bangor to Phoenix.
Zachary Winship knows the power of rehabilitation, "I have had some great opportunities in recovery, I think I'm very very lucky that my past worked out the way it did to have the chance to get sober to get clean and to be healthy and start giving back to the community. That's what this is all about for me...One of the things they teach you when you're doing recovery is to pass the message along and that will actually help keep you sober."
That is what the group hopes to do, pass the message along to veteran organizations they find along the way. Half the money raised will benefit the Bangor Area Recovery Network, the other half will be distributed to veteran organizations they find along the hike.
Winship said, "When somebody gets sober, you know you really get a productive member of society back. Seeing these people come in with nothing, no hope, and seeing them a couple months later going out and getting a job, starting work, bringing their family back together it's amazing to see."
Fellow camper and future hiker Jody Forrest said, "That's what we are trying to bring back to the community. It's not only productive people, but families. It brings families back together when people are recovering."
The members agree even if they can help one person get on the road to recovery the freezing temperatures and 126 day hike will all be worth it.
"That one person along the way that gets the message and ends up getting the help they need, that makes it all worth it," said Winship.
For a list of upcoming events along with ways you can help the cause visit their Facebook page.