Will Bright Foundation … Turning Pain into Purpose

Lyn Scarbrough

June 07, 2023 at 10:19 am.

Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl Addresses Luncheon, Supports ‘Important Work’

It’s a story that’s all too familiar.

A youngster, someone’s son or daughter, has a happy childhood, enjoys activities with the family, experiences love and support from parents and grandparents. There’s no reason to anticipate a problem.

But somewhere, sometime, it happens. Involvement with illegal drugs. Maybe not as noticeable initially, but it’s starts and it grows. It interferes with education. It damages relationships, impacts friendships, strains families. And, even if there becomes the desire to defeat the addiction and turn a life around, it’s often too late.

Lisa and Will Bright.

Will Bright was one of those youngsters. He got into drugs at an early age and didn’t have the training or maturity or strength to defeat the demons. After time in rehab and working at a job, he went back to drugs … and died of a heroin overdose in 2012 at the age of 25.

His death was then, and still is, a devastating loss. A kind, caring son and friend a victim of drug addiction. Such great potential unreached.

But, his parents, Bill and Lisa Bright, decided to change a tragedy into a triumph. In 2014, they established the Will Bright Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in memory of their son, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people who struggle with addiction.

Turning pain into purpose.

Since its inception, the foundation has grown, expanded its reach, increased its gifts and contributions, and made an impact regionally and nationally.

The annual Giving Restoration Luncheon for the Will Bright Foundation was held at The Club in Birmingham, Ala., on May 18. An overflow crowd of 300-plus people attended, pledged financial support, raising over $70,000 at this one event. The attendees heard an address from Auburn head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, a strong advocate for the foundation and its goals.

Pearl uniquely relates to the problems of addiction and the challenges involved in recovery.

“Addiction is real. It’s everywhere and affects all of us,” he said. “I’m proud to say that my youngest son is a recovering alcoholic, who has spent time in a number of facilities, receiving help to understand his condition and addiction. Love, support, education, understanding and finding a way to survive the complexities and challenges of life.

“Our children are our greatest treasure. Life can be so wonderful, but it can also be so painful. The challenge is how to navigate without relying on different substances to help you cope and get through life. These are problems that people from all walks of life face.

“Making that transition and helping people make that transition is important work. That’s why I’m very pleased to support and assist the Will Bright Foundation.”

The foundation founders and staff realize the importance of providing the “next step” for recovering addicts.

“When you feel unworthy, drugs are an easy fix,” Bill and Lisa Bright say in a Will Bright Foundation brochure. “You are always one decision away from disaster. If you don’t have God in your heart and something here on earth that gives you a sense of value, life is not worth staying clean.”

Restoration Springs represents “something here on earth that gives a sense of value.”

A transitional center founded by the Will Bright Foundation and located in Fayette, a small town in west central Alabama, Restoration Springs is 126-acre farm, featuring three cabins, a stocked fish pond and a picnic pavilion.

“Restoration Springs provides for men needing a place to land after their stay in recovery by providing housing, counseling, job readiness training and job placement,” Lisa Bright explains. “Our men experience the benefits of having a safe place to live, job placement and help with pending legal issues.

“This a place dedicated to helping bridge the gap between the bubble of recovery and taking that next step. It’s is a place that allows residents to be away from old influences and where you have accountability. It is a place where you can worship, work and find your God given purpose.”

Facility residents give back to the community through service projects such as helping local businesses, cutting grass and moving furniture. Local organizations, companies and individuals around Fayette have been supportive of the foundation, its activities and its objectives.

The Will Bright Foundation works through the Washington, DC coalition group, Voices for Non-Opioid Choices to extend awareness, legislation and educational information about the opioid crisis. The organization also provides scholarships to those unable to afford intake fees to recovery centers.

Funds were raised through tickets purchased for the Giving Restoration Luncheon at the Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Individual levels. Contributions can be made throughout the year.

“The Donations made will help provide housing, transportation, peer support, job readiness and job placement for our residents at Restoration Springs,” Lisa Bright confirmed.

The Bright family also asks for prayer support for the foundation’s efforts and for considering involvement with the organization.

“We need volunteers in many capacities and welcome your assistance,” they say in the foundation’s brochure.

To find out more about the Will Bright Foundation and Restoration Springs, visit the foundation’s Facebook page and/or website at …