As part of National Recovery Month, the Rockin’ Recovery Rally brought more than 800 people to the Wisconsin State Capitol on a beautiful summer afternoon. The goal: increasing the visibility of those in recovery to eliminate the stigma associated with it.

Flo Hilliard welcomes attendees to the Packer-friendly rally.

Flo Hilliard welcomes attendees to the Packer-friendly rally.

Held on the Capitol steps last Saturday, the Rockin’ Recovery Rally featured a DJ, food, face painting, and speakers. The lively music and heartfelt speeches grabbed the attention of people circling the Farmers’ Market on Madison’s Capitol Square.

The rally was sponsored by the Wisconsin Voices for Recovery, a project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Continuing Studies and Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery brings together people who or in recovery or seeking recovery, along with their family members and allies.

Jeffrey S. Russell: 'Continuing Studies is proud to partner with the state of Wisconsin on this valuable program for people in recovery.'

Jeffrey S. Russell: ‘Continuing Studies is proud to partner with the state of Wisconsin on this valuable program for people in recovery.’

Journey to recovery

The star speaker was Chester Marcol, the Hall of Fame placekicker for the Green Bay Packers. Marcol has chronicled his struggle with drugs and alcohol in the memoir Alive and Kicking: My Journey Through Football, Addiction, and Life. At the rally, he discussed his journey to recovery and his passion for helping others in the same boat.

Other speakers included Everett Mitchell, UW-Madison’s director of community relations; Wisconsin Rep. LaTonya Johnson; and Jeffrey S. Russell, Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies.

“Every member of the community is important,” said Russell, “and Continuing Studies is proud to partner with the state of Wisconsin on this valuable program for those in recovery.”

Everett paid tribute to the human spirit, and to people’s ability to take control of their lives.

“Just about everyone, regardless, of political affiliation, race, class, gender, or sexual orientation, has been touched by this disease,” he said. “In the end, we must provide them with a way to come back home.”

With more than 4,000 members, Wisconsin Voices for Recovery is committed to making a difference throughout the state. For more information, contact Flo Hilliard, 608-265-2679, fhilliard@dcs.wisc.edu.