What was once, literally, just one man’s dream has been transformed into a two-day festival of hope and redemption for people living with the scourge of addiction.
For the fifth straight year, Dennis Jaggers, of Leitchfield, will bring his Extreme 3:16 Youth Rally to the Grayson County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10 & 11 featuring live bands and performing groups, as well as guest speakers who will tell their cautionary tales of addiction in hopes of keeping others from following the same self-destructive paths,
Jaggers tells how he became addicted to pain killers following a back injury and about how he battled for 30 years trying to get his life back on the right track.
He said neither his father nor any of his friends could change him and it wasn’t until he entered a faith-based rehab facility in Crossville, Tn. that he was finally able to succeed in getting himself drug-free.
“I knew I needed help, but my Dad couldn’t do it, though everybody tried,” Jaggers said. “Jesus changed my life. The day I got saved, everything changed.”
Jaggers said he spent eight months at the facility and three days before he was to graduate, he had a dream in which he was at a youth rally for people with addictions. When he got back home, he began working to make that dream a reality.
Garnering donations from local businesses, he put together his first rally in 2012, at which some 150 people showed up. Since that time the crowds have grown and last year they had about 750 come for the event.
“We’re hoping to have a thousand this year,” he said.
The rally kicks off on Friday night with performances by Driven, Restored by Grace, Shawn Whitley, and the Northside Drama Team. Guest speakers will include Cindy Hudson, of the Grayson County EMS, Kentucky State Trooper, David Norris, and Adam Hill, who is the leader of the group Driven and is also a minister.
Saturday events begin at 11 a.m. with musical and dramatic performances throughout the day. Kenny Vincent will be cooking his chuck-wagon style chili all day long which will be complemented by hot dogs.
At 4 p.m., the main meal will be served, featuring pulled pork, baked beans and cole slaw, all of which will be free. There will be volleyball and corn hole tournaments as well as more guest speakers. Booths from a number of groups will be on hand to provide information for those needing help battling addiction.
Jaggers said he has been told he can’t save the world.
“But if I can change one person, or educate one kid or adult to not go through the life I did, then that’s my paycheck.”
He said that though this is labeled a youth rally, it is really for anyone, young or old, who is struggling with addiction.
“This is for anyone needing help, to show them they don’t have to live this way, that there is hope.”
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.