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Memorial quilt for substance abuse victims to be displayed in Wallingford

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WALLINGFORD — A substance abuse counseling group is planning to display a memorial quilt at Gaylord Hospital this weekend.

A public viewing of the quilt is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. today in the Chauncey Conference Center, according to a news release from TriCircle, Inc., a Middlefield-based nonprofit that provides resources for individuals and families affected by substance use.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, a maximum of 25 people at one time will be allowed in the room where the quilt is displayed. Social distancing and masks will be required.

The quilt, which commemorates 36 people who have died, is slated to be the first in a series. Information will be made available for the development of the next quilt in the series.

Ana Gopoian, TriCircle founder and president, said in a statement that the quilt was “crafted to create an opportunity for individuals and families to come together to remember and memorialize their loved ones in a supportive and caring environment.”

TriCircle plans to display the quilt around the state “in an effort to reduce stigma and create meaningful conversations about substance use,” Gopoian said.

“TriCircle, Inc. hopes that by putting the faces of those who have died in the forefront,” she said, “we will reinforce the need to create long term solutions and make the valuable changes necessary to improve the system of care and recovery.”

Gopoian made seven of the quilt squares herself. She also contributed embellishments and pieces of material. Her aunt, Kathy Palermo, paid for the quilt display stand and many embellishments.

Ana Leah and Rich Stancil also donated some of the art supplies.

Middlefield Federated Church allowed TriCircle to host its first event in their space. A second square making opportunity was at one of the executive offices conference rooms, where the TriCircle office is located. The rest were made at Gopoian’s house.

The quilt is part of a statewide Remembrance Quilt Initiative, launched in 2017 to honor loved ones who have died from a substance use disorder, coordinated by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services with resources provided through Connecticut Clearinghouse in Plainville.

Remembrance quilts are sewn together once 36 squares have been decorated and collected. The quilts are then brought to events around the state in order to pay tribute to the those who have died and to give others a broader scope of substance abuse disorders and the effects they have on families.

The TriCircle quilt is scheduled to be displayed at 4th Annual International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil, scheduled for 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 31 on the steps of the State Capitol building in Hartford.

LTakores@record-journal.com203-317-2212Twitter: @LCTakores


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