Dorchester County responded enthusiastically to the Dorchester Goes Purple movement during the September launch! The County witnessed scores of businesses, public service agencies, and homes shining Purple lights brightly. And as intended, the purple lights have been prompting important conversations – especially with our youth - about the risks and danger of opioid use.
The Dorchester Goes Purple Committee did not stop at a remarkable purple lighting campaign and issued well over 600 purple T-Shirts, 3,500 wristbands, 3,000 flyers and 1,000 window stickers. 30 Daily Purple Messages were distributed on-air, via Facebook, on the DorchesterGoesPurple.ORG website, and around the community through the Purple Banner initiative.
Moreover, IRONMAN’s Gerry Boyle coordinated the 1,500 Purple IRONMAN Volunteer T-Shirts that sported the “Awareness Starts at Home” campaign slogan. There was even a Purple Boat Parade on the Friday before IRONMAN and many congregations heard “Purple” messages from the pulpits across the County thanks to the support of the Dorchester Faith Alliance.
September being National Recovery Month coincided with the engaging Dri-Dock recovery event that was a focal point for those in treatment and the Recovery Tailgate Party at Portside was a well-attended event that raised funds that went directly to recovery efforts.
Special thanks to the leadership of Sheriff Phillips, Chief Lewis and Chief Hutton and State’s Attorney Bill Jones for spearheading messaging across the county. Additionally WHCP recorded, aired and archived on SoundCloud over a dozen Purple Interviews including four very personal testimonies from community members who stand as beacons for others in need of treatment and recovery.
We would be seriously remiss without thanking the hard-working members of the Dorchester Goes Purple Committee for their great efforts – starting with the leadership of Chamber President Bill Christopher, ably supported by Robin Marie Burton and Robin Stanley. Committee Members who launched the campaign so effectively: Gerry Boyle, IRONMAN Maryland, Amber Byrd, Productivity Manager at the Chesapeake Hyatt Regency Resort, Emma Diaz and Pat Smith of Morningstar Academy, Sandra Hale of Merrill Lynch, Lucie Hughes of Tidewater Rotary, State’s Attorney William Jones, Angela M. Mercier, Dorchester County Health Department, Lori Nagel of the Whitten Group, Nancy Shockley of the Local Management Board, Anna Sierra, Emergency Services Director and Beth Wilson, Dorchester County Public Schools.
On behalf of the Committee, we thank the community for embracing this initiative and invite everyone to stay in touch with the next phases of the Dorchester Goes Purple at dorchestergoespurple.org. We appreciate hearing ideas and suggestions from all and invite others to join this important effort.
Finally, the critical "youth outreach" component is a next step focus for the Dorchester Goes Purple Committee. The Public Service Announcement contest running in the schools is nearing the end and the winner will be announced soon. WMDT will create a production version of the PSA and Bay Country Communications and Comcast Spotlight have agreed to run it on air. We are also negotiating to bring the Purple Project’s founder and powerful presenter Chris Herren to present to the students of the County in the spring. Stay tuned!
Sheriff Phillips & Mike Starling
Co-chairs, Dorchester Goes Purple Committee