Sage’s Army Celebrates 10 Years of Turning Tragedy into Triumph | Local News
Coping with the untimely loss of a loved one can seem hopeless. But when Carmen Capozzi lost her son, Sage, to an accidental drug overdose in 2012, he found a way to create hope in the lives of people struggling with the same thing that ultimately took their toll. life to his son. He founded the Army of Sage.
On Wednesday, March 30, Sage’s Army celebrated its 10th anniversary since founding the nonprofit at Westmoreland County Community College. The event brought together several guest speakers to explain what the organization has meant to them and to the community. Attendees enjoyed live music by Kelly Jeanne, food, drinks and a draw for gift baskets. This celebration was just that; a celebration of how far the Sage Army has come and all it has overcome since its inception.
Sage’s Army was founded in 2012 by Capozzi, following the death of his son. Rich Jones, executive director of Sage’s Army, noted that the 10th anniversary is a “remarkable achievement” during his address to those in attendance. Jones noted how many nonprofits struggle to reach this milestone.
“If you have any perspective on nonprofits…you know most of them don’t succeed,” Jones said. “The fact that Sage’s army is still alive and well and better than ever is phenomenal,” Jones added.
While that may be true now, it hasn’t always been so. In 2018, Sage’s Army fell on hard times and did not receive critical nonprofit success funding. It got to the point where those involved considered unplugging Sage’s army.
“It was overwhelming,” Jones said, “When you do this job…you get to know people and they die…somebody’s here today and they’re leaving tomorrow; it’s too much for one person. However, in true Sage Army fashion, tragedy turned into triumph once again.
“Fortunately, (Capozzi) had good people around him who were able to help (improve the funding).. and Sage’s army was able to receive a grant from the State of Pennsylvania to become what is called an organization Recovery Community (RCO),” Jones explained.
Today, Sage’s Army helps many people struggling with addiction every day in ways that other RCOs do not. Jones noted that “recovery through multiple pathways” is what has really made a difference at Sage’s Army, which means the organization understands that there is no one plan for everyone struggling with addiction. . “What works for one person may not work for the next,” Jones explained. It’s this more inclusive approach that has helped Sage’s Army get to where it is today.
Sometimes holding back tears, Capozzi gave a heartfelt speech to those in attendance about all that happened to Sage’s army. “Sage’s army is bigger, much bigger than just an RCO,” Capozzi said, “the people involved are passionate.”
Capozzi takes pride in knowing that Army of Sage is helping to make a difference in the fight against the opioid epidemic and the stigma that hangs over the heads of those struggling with addiction and their families. When asked what he is most proud of in the organization, his answer is very simple: “Being part of the solution,” Capozzi said.
Sage’s Army has continued to help many people struggling with drug addiction over its 10 years of existence. In October and November 2021 alone, the organization was able to place 21 people in drug rehabilitation centers and helped a total of 99 people obtain services from recovery specialists, according to the organization’s newsletter.
Although today, Sage’s Army reaches out to many different people in the community, they make it a point to never forget the reason for its founding – Sage. “The memory of Sage really lives on in this organization,” Jones said.