By Student Reporter Jack Royer

This is the third of four installments of “Sweet Home Heroin,” Jack Royer’s special reporting about Alabama’s heroin epidemic.

Bill and Lisa Bright raised their family, two daughters and a son, Will, like many other ordinary Americans raise theirs. As a young man, Will began experimenting with drugs. Of all drugs by which he may have been affected, heroin took a stronghold over Will’s life.

“There were times that he would want to come spend Thanksgiving with us and I said, ‘You can’t stay here,’ ’’ Bright told WVUA 23’s Jack Royer. “And he said, ‘Why can’t I stay there?’ And I said, ’Well, every time you come here, you steal something from me.’  And he laughed and he said, ‘Not every time.’ ”

The Brights sought help from many rehab centers, including The Foundry in Bessemer.

“He told me he said I think I’ve finally beaten this thing, I think I’m at that point, you know,’’ Bright said. “I told him I said ‘I’ve been waiting to hear that for years,’ and then, you know, six months later he was dead.”

Will bright died almost three years go, in late November 2012, but the Brights aren’t ignoring what killed their son. They’re embracing it, to save other lives by trying to open a home for recovering addicts, a place that might have saved their son’s life.

The Will Bright Foundation was created by the Bright family and Jacky Gann, a recovering addict that knew will and helped him through his recovery at The Foundry. He was likely the last person to see Will before he died. The Will Bright House is a new concept that could eventually bridge the gap between finishing traditional recovery, and truly getting clean.

“Well his name’s on the shirt, you know what I’m saying,” Gann said. “And I think that his legacy is continuing that, and I think that even through his death, he’s going to bring many people to life, so.”

The Will Bright Foundation is raising money to build this house. The people working towards this mission aren’t receiving salaries or being paid. They’re volunteering their time for Will and other addicts whose lives they hope to save. Every penny raised at this fundraising breakfast for the foundation in early November will go toward that mission. Lisa Bright said the Foundation is helping her move on from the loss.

“You don’t know why things like that happen but at the same time, you have two choices,” Bright said. “You can sit and wallow in it and be bitter in it the rest of your life, or you can move forward. We choose to move forward.”

For more information on the Will Bright Foundation, go online to willbrightfoundation.com.

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