FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Gone too soon, but not forgotten. Two fathers continued their efforts to help those battling drug addictions after losing their sons to addiction.
The second Gone 2 Soon fundraiser took place at 2Toms Brewing on Saturday. The event hosted booths for nonprofit organizations, a memory wall where people could share a photo from their lost loved ones, as well as a silent auction. Money raised will go to benefit Lexi’s Voice, an organization that uses rescue horses and bunnies to help youth heal from current and past traumas.
The event was started by Shawn Zuber and Tim Longardner, two men who became friends and later learned they had both lost their sons to drug addiction. Kyle Zuber died in September 2013 at 25 years old.
“He was a very giving soul,” Zuber said. “He was a really good cook. He was very attentive. He was a really good father. You know, he just succumbed to that addiction and, now we just get to relive how good the life was that he did have.”
Longardner lost his son Josh in January 2016, also at age 25.
“He worked hard, he played hard, but he had such a big heart,” Longardner said. “There was things I learned about him after his death, that I didn’t know why he was alive. Certain people that he helped. And so, it’s just not bad kids. They’re not bad people. They just had an addiction that took over their mind. But they still at the end of the day, did a lot of good things for people and even just a caring kid. Just, you know, unfortunately, it happens.”
Zuber and Longardner said that their fundraiser is meant to honor the memory of their sons, as well as encourage people to continue shedding light and awareness on addiction.
“They’re not alone,” said Zuber. “They don’t have to be afraid, don’t have to be pressured. They just know that they can feel something with somebody else and not feel so alone.”
“A lot of us out here that are hurting, and it’s okay to talk about it,” added Longardner. “Hopefully just to get people to talk about it just feel better about themselves because you feel like you did something wrong and you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just something bad happens and it happens to a lot of people.”
The fundraiser was first started in 2019 but canceled last year due to the pandemic. For updates on next year’s events check them out on Facebook.