Melanie Richmond has a vision. The mom and massage therapist said, " I'm trying to get the word out that when there are drugs being used in the home that the child is endangered."
Protection came too late for baby Harold Harris. Two years ago, the child's tiny body was abandoned near Nacogdoches. His drug using parents ran away to Mexico, were later arrested and are now in prison. That story, of a total stranger to Melanie, inspired her to make a difference. She can't speak of the incident without tears. " I was outraged at what happened to that little boy and thought somebody had to do something and I thought I would do it, if no one else was going to do it, I would do it."
And she did. It began with prayer and a phone call. She mustered up all her courage to invite noted researchers to Nacogdoches. They're the same kind of people the Winfrey show calls. To Melanie's surprise they accepted, expecting nothing in return, except the opportunity to share knowledge. Melanie laughed, " I'm not a PHd or doctor. I don't run in the circles that these speakers run in, although, we have a common focus. We have a common interest to help protect children." They'll speak of cures, treatments and breaking edge research on drug addictions.
Melanie founded the grass roots Nacogdoches chapter of Healing Helpers, a group dedicated to finding answers to end the devastating destruction of drug abuse. The effort fulfills a grand vision that's becoming extremely personal to Melanie. She's befriended baby Harris' family. They're no longer strangers. Melanie said, " I wanted the families to know that if everyone else in the community forgets about Harold or can kinda push it aside because everyone's lives are so busy, there is one person that still remembers him." That one person, of course, is Melanie.
The woman has never had a direct link to drug addiction, but now suddenly finds it her mission to address. So it's only fitting that the conference on helping drug endangered children is dedicated to the memory baby Harold.