James Willard Harwood “Wiley”

James Willard Harwood “Wiley”

Father, son, brother, grandson, nephew, friend

Wiley was playful, giving, understanding and non-judgmental. He was a loved family member, father and friend and thought of others more than himself. He loved openly with no agenda, and believed in second, and even third chances. He was a light in the darkness.

Wiley had artistic talent in many areas. He could hear a song once and sing it. He wrote music and could teach himself to play any instrument he picked up. He was also a fantastic artist, and he liked physical activity such as skateboarding and basketball.

He was proud of his work as a roofer, and wanted to start his own roofing company and employ people in recovery to help them learn skills and move forward in life. Wiley became a health counselor at a rehab he attended and wanted to help others. “He saved lives by counseling with people,” according to his mother, ‘It warmed to my heart to hear that from those who knew him.’

Most recently, Wiley planned to attend ministry school with Hope Over Heroin, a collaborative faith-based ministry that strives to raise awareness, reduce stigma and ignite hope in those with addiction. Later he intended to go to college to pursue his pastoral degree and help lead others to Jesus and sobriety.

He called his mom every day to check on her, and would sometimes ask for advice on how to make the foods he liked. His mother ponders how his life would have been and what he would be doing now if he were still alive. She wanted to watch him raise his beautiful son, James (Baby Wiley) and hear his distinctive giggle, “I miss that so much,” she said.

“It was so difficult not being able to fix things for him and waiting for that phone call,” his mom said. His addiction broke her heart and placed difficulties on the family. “It was a nightmare, walking into the unknown world of addiction, and a nightmare knowing that he is never coming back.” ‘I loved my son no matter what; he will never be forgotten and always be loved.’

Wiley’s mother, Johni Wressell, provided the information for this narrative.

May 3, 1990-June 24, 2016

Age 26-Lived with addiction 2 years

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