A Christian recording artist made a surprise appearance Thursday at the 10th Annual Recovery Forum at the Lord’s Gym in Vancouver.
Oregon-native Shawn McDonald came to speak about his past drug use, being arrested and changing his life, Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shane Gardner said in an email.
In between stories McDonald performed songs.
The recovery forum is an annual event to recognize and celebrate those who are working to live a life without addiction.
Each year, the free event offers entertainment, guest speakers, resource information, raffle prizes and child care options, said Geoff Knapp of Clark County Community Services, who helped plan the event.
McDonald’s appearance at the forum was kept secret to prevent fans of his music from crashing the event, Gardner said.
“We wanted this to be a special treat for those who are giving back to their community everyday by living purposefully drug and alcohol free,” Gardner said.
Knapp added: “Shawn has a story he can share above and beyond the norm.”
Knapp said he wasn’t sure how many people attended this year’s event, but he was told that Lifeline Connections, an event sponsor, was planning to barbecue about 400 hamburgers.
“We cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem,” Gardner said. “The answer is in strong partnerships between treatment, prevention, enforcement and restoration.”