GROTON, CT (WFSB) -- There’s a shoreline organization making great strides in helping those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

This week, Channel 3’s Liberty Bank Surprise Squad took a trip to Groton to say ‘thank you’ to the volunteers who are helping save lives.

“The most important thing I think we do is guide families through this disease that no one had a book for,” explained Joe De La Cruz, founder of Community Speaks Out.

Community Speaks Out is an organization that was formed to help provide support and opportunities for individuals struggling with addiction.

That mission has a special place in the hearts of State Rep. Joe De La Cruz and his wife, Tammy.

“It’s grassroots. My wife and I found out our son was addicted to Percocet, and quickly found out that he wasn’t alone, and we weren’t alone as a family,” Joe De La Cruz said.

“Because of Joey’s addiction, it opened our eyes to the fact that our community was so sick. And so, because of that, we said we have to do more,” Tammy De La Cruz said.

Community Speaks Out was started in 2015, and in the years since, has been guiding people through the road to recovery.

The group of volunteers walk families through the process of getting addicted loved ones into treatment.

Sadly, the De La Cruz’s son, Joey Gingerella, was killed in 2016 after coming to the aid of a woman being brutally assaulted by her boyfriend.

“I don’t know if my wife and I would be involved in addiction or helping folks in addiction if it wasn’t brought to our doorstep in the way that it was. But he’s definitely living through us,” Joe De La Cruz said.

The pandemic has amplified the importance of the non-profit organization’s work stopping the stigma and raising awareness.

The Liberty Bank Surprise Squad made a $500 donation to Community Speaks Out to thank them for all of the tremendous work they have been doing from the start and also during the pandemic.

It was a special thank you for those speaking out, saving lives, and showing that recovery is possible.

If you know someone struggling with addiction or maybe you want to volunteer with Community Speaks Out, contact Tammy at 860-271-1835, Linda at 860-823-8771 or click here to visit their website.

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