Community walks together to support people in recovery

In what community does the mayor, city court judge, district attorney and sheriff gather every year to celebrate people recovering from substance use disorder?

Mayor Jimmy Giannettino speaks at the Tim Durant Recovery Walk in Auburn, N.Y., May 21, 2024.
Mayor Jimmy Giannettino reads a proclamation prior to those gathered for the 2024 Tim Durant Recovery Walk

Auburn, N.Y.

“Every community is facing challenges associated with addiction, particularly with the opioid crisis,” said Mayor Jimmy Giannettino. “What sets us apart is how we respond.”

More than 50 people met at Exchange Street plaza in downtown Auburn Tuesday May 21 for the 19thth annual Tim Durant Recovery Walk. Most in attendance were in recovery from addiction.

They were welcomed by City Court Judge David Thurston, representing Auburn’s Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court, Behavioral Health Court and Felony Treatment Court. Mayor Giannettino issued a proclamation naming May as National Drug Treatment Court Month and Mental Health Month. Also in attendance were Cayuga County District Attorney Brittany Grome Antonacci and Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck.

“Our community recognizes the need to respond as a united force to help address addiction and aid those in the recovery process,” District Attorney Antonacci said. “There has been a growing movement in our community to transform the way the justice system responds to individuals who suffer from substance use and mental health disorders.”

People walking south on South Street in Auburn for the 19th annual Tim Durant Recovery Walk,, May 21, 2024.
People walk south on South Street in Auburn for the 19th annual Tim Durant Recovery Walk, May 21, 2024.

After the initial assembly, the group took to the sidewalk, heading south on South Street to Clymer Street. The evening sun gave way to clouds as the walkers turned back north. Large raindrops pelted down as the walkers passed city hall and turned east. The event ended at GRACE House, where walkers enjoyed a cookout.

The first Recovery Walk, in 2006, was organized by Tim Durant, a former Unity House employee who was part of the Drug Court team. It was named in his honor after he unexpectedly died one week before the event.

The walk is organized each year by the city treatment courts as well as LifeWorks of Cayuga County, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Nick’s Ride 4 Friends and Unity House.