AUGUSTA – Crisis & Counseling Centers celebrated recovery from substance abuse and mental health issues at the agency’s Third annual On Track to Recovery 5K Walk/Run on Sept. 17. The event raised $8,400 to support clients who are in recovery and otherwise would not have access to outpatient counseling services, according to a news release from C&CC.

The race attracted more than 225 participants, community members, families and nonprofit leaders to the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Augusta.

September is Recovery Month, a national awareness campaign that promotes the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health and substance abuse disorders. Laura Benedict, owner of The Red Barn and well-known advocate for behavioral health care, addressed the crowd prior to the race. She shared her positive experience of publicly announcing her struggle with bi-polar disorder and alcohol abuse to her restaurant’s 69,000 Facebook followers, combating stigma in the process.

In addition to the 5K race, the event included a Kids’ Fun Run Obstacle Course, a post-event recovery celebration and a Kid Zone hosted by the agency’s G.E.A.R. Parent Network with face painting, balloon animals and a photo booth.

C&C’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Mitchell, LCSW, acknowledged the ongoing nature of recovery at the post-event celebration.

“One of the things I like about this day is that it reminds me why our work is so important,” Mitchell said, addressing the crowd, according to the release. “Recovery is a key part of community health. If we’re going to be healthy, we need to have good behavioral health services in order to support people in need. We thank you for giving us the ability to say ‘yes’ to those who are brave enough to reach out and ask for help.”

On Track to Recovery 5K Walk/Run named adult and team winners during the award ceremony. Dustin Fier earned first place among males with a time of 19 minutes and 8 seconds, and Rachel Ohm earned the same rank with a time of 21 minutes and 50 seconds. Other top participants included Chad Perry and Diana Fletcher in second place in their gender category, and William Asbell and Emmy Spiegel in third place. The team with the fastest average time was Make Running Great Again. The top fundraising team was Lisa’s Restaurant and Catering, and the top fundraising individual was Jennifer Langella. To see a full list of race results, visit the race web page.

Thirty-one area businesses sponsored or donated to the event, including Presenting Sponsor Maine Recovery Center and Platinum Sponsor Norton Insurance & Financial Services.

According to the release, C&CC is an Augusta-based nonprofit serving individuals with behavioral health needs, including substance abuse, mental health and co-occurring disorders. In addition, the agency is the sole provider of crisis services for Kennebec and Somerset counties. The agency also offers G.E.A.R. Parent Network to empower caregivers of children with behavioral health needs statewide and Maine Mothers Network for pregnant and parenting women using substances. For more information about C&C, call Central Access at 626-3448 or visit

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