DERRY — On Nov. 1, The Derry Friendship Center held a celebration fundraiser at Brookstone Park and Event Center, celebrating 40 of service and also posthumously honoring founder Arthur Mills and his surviving family members.
Mills, a retired executive of a large utility, had recovered from a life of alcoholism and was so grateful for the program which turned his life around that he thought it a good idea to keep those programs in a location that was a permanent location and not subject to removal for different use.
Most of the meetings were held in church basements or homes. As space became more useful for the churches, and homes couldn't absorb parking, many of the recovery groups were asked to leave and had to scramble to other locations which caused concern for people in highly volatile transition.
Arthur had a better idea — locate a permanent address that groups might afford by their own contributions. That was the founding of the Derry Friendship Center, now celebrating 40 years of "making safe the journeys for literally tens of thousands of people from the greater Derry, Londonderry, Chester and, Salem areas."
A special digital film by Todd Strugnell told a visual story of the human costs of addiction while highlighting the success of the center.
The meeting was directed by Friendship Center chairman Carol Bowden, who recognized all of the contributors and businesses that made the event possible. Classical guitar music was played by "Divergent Strings" a trio consisting of Wayne Hughs, John Zevos and Roger Ramirez.
The night included a dinner and auction, followed by a "Plaque of Gratitude" honoring founder Mills and presented to his family by Patrick Conway, contributor/fundraiser for the Derry Friendship Center.
Any interested parties wishing to show their gratitude and past benefit from the work provided by the Derry Friendship Center and want to contribute in the name of a present or deceased family member, or anonymously, can send contributions to: The Derry Friendship Center, 6 Railroad Avenue, Derry N.H. 03038.