Darryl Strawberry Speech, Relay For Life, & Bears Make for a Busy Weekend at Lake Wallenpaupack

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP -- A speech by a former Major Leaguer drew thousands of people--including the governor--to a high school in the Poconos while another busy event was taking place outside. Down the road, bears sleeping in a tree added to the commotion.

A growing problem in our area brought thousands of people out to hear from one man who made it through to the other side.

Eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star Darryl Strawberry shared his story of addiction in front of thousands at Wallenpaupack Area High School Saturday.

Thousands of people gathered inside the high school to hear Strawberry talk about addiction--a growing problem in the community.

The room was filled with people like Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, other area leaders, and those dealing with addiction--whether their own or someone else's.

The four-time World Series champ outlined his battle with addiction and how he overcame it.

"Addiction is so bad around here that it's good for somebody to come around that has come out of the other side of it," Kelly Hoherchak of Waymart.

"Right now, we have a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol. The big one here in northeastern Pennsylvania is heroin," said Jimmy Simpson, a volunteer.

"Just an opportunity to see our community embrace this initiative and make sure we are showing our support for each other, for those who are going through addiction problems, which is impacting our community," said Wallenpaupack Area High School Principal Jim Kane.

For students, it means a lot seeing their school help host a free, meaningful discussion about a real problem they see in the real world.

"I think it's very important to have all this information early on in life so it can allow you to possibly not participate using drugs or alcohol in your future," said junior Katie Lane.

And while thousands of people piled inside the gymnasium at the high school, that wasn't the only thing going on around Lake Wallenpaupack. At the same time, the annual Relay For Life event was being held on the high school track.

Parking was expected to be an issue at the high school, so there were plenty of officials helping to make sure traffic moved smoothly at the entrance along busy Route 6.

The Relay For Life of the Greater Lake Region holds its event every year. Somehow, both events were scheduled on the same day. The high school principal tells Newswatch 16 that about 3,000 people were at the school between those two events. The high school usually holds 1,100 students.

The Relay For Life runs until 10 a.m. Saturday.

What wasn't scheduled, however, was the nap four bears were spotted taking in a tree less than a mile down the road from the high school.

People were pulling over, standing along the road, taking photos, and watching as the bears lounged in the pine tree near the hydro-electric dam at Lake Wallenpaupack.

"No, I've never seen this. I've seen one bear, or a bear mom and a cub, but never three or four bears at one time," said Gene Lewis of Matamoras. "It's a special sight. I like that. Get back to nature!"

3 comments

  • sharon

    Now if only the American Cancer Society would do something besides fund raising and lobby hard to get the casinos under the Clean Air Act. Not just a token lets-visit-harrisburg for the media. Use some of those solicited donations to really do some good and go on all out media blitz until the legislators pay attention. Second hand smoke causes cancer and no where in PA is it more dangerous to people than in casinos.

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