Vigil commemorates a life

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times Lenora Lada, mother of Trey Moats, and about 30 of Moats’ friends and family gathered Friday night to hold a vigil on what would have been his 27th birthday. He died of a drug overdose Dec. 2. A billboard overlooking the site of the vigil urges people to become familiar with the Good Samaritan law.

The billboard reads “Trey’s Life Mattered,” and it was clear Friday night that it mattered to many people.

More than 30 friends and family, along with an unexpected stranger, gathered in sight of a billboard on Ohio 60 near Colegate Drive purchased by Trey Moats’ mother, Lenora Lada, to commemorate his life on what would have been his 27th birthday.

Moats died Dec. 2, the result of a drug overdose, but his life might have been saved if he had been given medical care in time, his mother believes. Instead, those who were with him at the time took him to a house within half a mile of Marietta’s main hospital and left him in the yard.

Lenora Lada is on a campaign to make people aware that those who engage in life-saving actions, such as seeking medical attention for someone suffering from an overdose, don’t need to fear arrest or prosecution if they are high or in possession of drugs under most circumstances.

The billboard reads, “His Life Mattered” with a picture of Trey and a message that he died within three-tenths of a mile of medical care. The intent is to acquaint people with the Good Samaritan law.

“Spreading the word about the law doesn’t mean you’re condoning drugs in any way,” said Trey’s cousin, Josie Lada.

“We have education, we’re working class people, it happened to us, you don’t expect it but it does.”

Tassy Yates, a friend of Trey’s, said it’s a way to encourage people to do the right thing.

Remembering Trey, Yates said, “The way he loved his mother, every mother wants to be loved that way.”

Josie, 27, remembered Trey’s dry sense of humor, and his attention to his appearance.

She still feels anger about the way he died.

“There’s no accountability. What happened to Trey didn’t break any laws, but think about what happened, nothing happened to them, nothing changed, and to me that enables the behavior and cycle to continue,” she said. “It just feeds itself, like a big monster. There are active warrants out for people letting their dogs run loose, but situations like this, where drugs were dealt, someone passed away, a group of people didn’t help, they stole off his body, they continue to push drugs to other people and nothing’s done,” she said. “It’s going to keep happening.”

William Richards, 28, said he known Trey since they both were freshman in high school.

“He was a great kid, he could put a smile on anybody’s face,” he said. “He was one in a million. You could be having the worst day of your life and he could bring a smile to your face … He just got in the wrong crowd. When I heard, my heart sunk. He’s the fifth friend I’ve lost. He didn’t deserve the treatment he got that night, he deserved so much better. He touched plenty of us, and I’m so proud of his mother, she’s trying to help awareness, and that’s a start.”

After candles were lit in the darkness, Mike Pollard of Vienna, W.Va., stood in front of the group and explained that, although he had never met Trey or any of this family, he had postponed a trip to be at the vigil.

His son, he said, had nearly died of an overdose under similar circumstances and he felt he had to be there to show his sympathy and solidarity with the group.

“His life did matter,” he said.

Trey Moats

¯ Born: Jan. 19, 1991.

¯ Died: Dec. 2, 2017.

¯ Memorial vigil: Jan. 19, 2018.

¯ Location: Ohio 60 at Colegate Drive, under a billboard.

¯ Message on the billboard: Trey’s Life Mattered.