CNN Heroes Nomination submitted July 4, 2011

In your own words, why does your nominee deserve recognition as a CNN Hero? Please describe in detail your nominee’s specific accomplishments and what was involved in achieving them. Be sure to include the dates of the activities.

My husband Brad Mersereau deserves to be recognized as a hero because his tireless efforts to save young people from the tragedy of drug/alcohol addiction have opened doors to freedom for many children already and will continue to lead the young in countless countries out of their self-made prisons into the sunlight. Brad’s mission is to keep the memory of his sister Laura alive with proactive addiction recovery and prevention support at his website www.bradmersereau.com. Laura died on June 13, 1999, four months and six days after her 46th birthday, from health causes related to her 25-year unsuccessful struggle with alcoholism. Sadly, 100,000 Americans die annually for similar reasons from this disease. 25% of America’s college youth are abusing or are addicted to alcohol or drugs. In December 2008, Brad cosponsored with the Oregon Partnership a college scholarship essay contest with 125 high school participants describing their effective drug/alcohol refusal skillsets. Since launching his website in May 2006, Brad has secured 5325 sobriety anniversary years from 380 anonymous participants and 123 sobriety pledges.

How have your nominee’s efforts made a difference for the better? Please describe their impact, potential impact, and how they have inspired others.

The positive effects of Brad’s mission-inspired work have grown exponentially. He believes that leveraged fund-raising can produce effective sobriety-related outcomes. Brad has raised $2,360,000 for 9 Portland, Oregon-based addiction prevention and recovery programs since Laura’s death on June 13, 1999. Matching funds in these programs total $1,400,000. Union Gospel Mission considered Brad’s lead gift a tipping point for their LifeChange residence facility. Central City Concern credits Brad’s fund-raising and vision as instrumental in establishing “Laura’s Place,” a monitored transitional recovery 4-plex for women who are breaking the bonds of their former addictions.

Is there a specific incident or turning point that motivated your nominee to take action?

Laura’s 25-year alcohol-induced downward spiral was a slow suicide culminating in her death. This motivating event set my husband on an intentional course of action. Energized by the bittersweet strength of heartbreak, he seeks the solace of a cleansing scar — to be achieved by his mending drive to make Laura’s memory matter. Brad considers the process of addiction prevention and recovery a Sisyphian puzzle to be solved.

Is there anything else that makes your nominee exceptional or unique?

Brad Mersereau is a multi-talented man. He is a gifted musician, composer, spiritual leader, mathematician, social activist, and teacher. His varied abilities are directed toward a single purpose: the ever-widening implementation of his mission to keep Laura’s memory alive. His macro-objective is to celebrate 1000 sobriety pledges and 20,000 sobriety anniversaries by 2025. Brad’s musical compositions have been played by symphony orchestras and have been featured on radio, on television, and in movies. BMI and IMDB confirm that over 45 million folks have heard his music via these media.

How will being recognized as a CNN Hero further your nominee’s cause?

Lives may be saved and recoveries may be affirmed through potentially hundreds more sobriety pledges and thousands more sobriety anniversaries. As more people become aware of Brad’s cause, the effectiveness of his campaign will increase. He believes Emersonian self reliance fueled by reliable addiction prevention and recovery techniques is a game-changer.

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