Zach Gunning said he had a rough past, but now, he wants to use that experience to do something good. Violence and abuse took over Gunning's life and he just spent seven years in prison for it.
"Violence is destroying our lives,” said Gunning. “It's leaving mothers raising their kids on their own, you know fathers in prison and it's just gonna keep going from generation to generation if we don't make a change."
Change is something Gunning wants to see in this community.
That is why he wants to start the group 'Harrisonburg Hope' to help others stay away from a life of violence and drugs. Bath salts are a big problem for the Valley and Gunner wants to make fighting this problem a priority.
"It's getting easier to get because it's just sold in stores and people hear that it's synthetic so they might not think it's as harmful, but it's actually easier to overdose and it's highly addictive, just like cocaine and even the drug dealers are taking bath salts and cutting it into their coke and people are o.d.'ing on that."
Gunning said overdosing and violence cost him many years that he will never get back. He said he hopes he can teach others about his past to stop them from ruining their futures.
"And also to anyone out there who might be on the edge, living that life right now and know in their minds they want to take that step but are afraid. You know, it is possible to make that step. There are people out there willing to help you."
Gunning said he plans to work with the R.U.S.H. Drug Task Force to teach kids about violence. He said maybe if they see how it ruined his life, it will be easier for them to see why they should not get involved.
Gunning's new group is just in its beginning stages so he said he needs volunteers to help get it going.
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