Joel Browning of Identity Graphics hangs a new anti-methamphetamine billboard in October 2009 along West Victory Way. Communities Overcoming Methamphetamine Abuse sponsored the billboard. However, COMA has now officially disbanded, and as part of the organization shutting down, the billboard will be removed.

File Photo

Joel Browning of Identity Graphics hangs a new anti-methamphetamine billboard in October 2009 along West Victory Way. Communities Overcoming Methamphetamine Abuse sponsored the billboard. However, COMA has now officially disbanded, and as part of the organization shutting down, the billboard will be removed.

COMA in Craig has final meeting before disbanding

Organization votes to distribute funding to carry on message

Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse Chairman Joel Sheridan called for a motion to adjourn Thursday.

The comment echoed around the room filled with COMA board members.

Hours earlier, the board entered into what would be COMA’s last meeting as an organization.

Sheridan’s remark, which would cement the organization’s finality, seemed to weigh on the board members.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz interrupted with “one last thing” he wanted to say.

Motioning to several COMA board members, Jantz said those that carried the organization’s mission of spreading awareness about the dangers of methamphetamine use during the last eight years will always be “near and dear to my heart.”

After the motion to adjourn, the board remained seated in silence for a few moments.

COMA voted in early November to dissolve the organization after about eight years of service to the Craig and surrounding communities.

“It’s bittersweet, but I understand,” said Annette Dunckley, who was one of COMA’s founding members and now lives in Dixon, Wyo.

During it’s final meeting, the COMA board discussed its final business — what to do with its remaining supplies and funds.

The COMA board voted unanimously to distribute its remaining funds to four organizations the board thought would carry on COMA’s mission.

Those receiving the last of COMA’s funding are the Boys & Girls Club of Craig and Moffat County Drug Court, which received $3,000 each; the Colorado Meth Project, which received $1,400; and the Substance Abuse Prevention Program, which received $1,000 and any other remaining money.

Shirley Simpson, COMA activities coordinator, said the Boys & Girls Club would take over hosting and organizing duties of COMA’s annual Not Even Once Week.

The meth awareness billboard placed on West Victory Way, however, will be taken down, Simpson said.

The organization’s remaining promotional items such as water bottles, shirts and others will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club and various schools in the county, Simpson said.

Simpson said she was sad it was time for the organization she has served for several years to step out of the spotlight.

“We really have reached as far as we can,” she said of COMA. “I believe that in all these years that we made an impact, we made a difference, we helped a lot of people, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Jantz said the board’s decision came as a result of the lack of volunteers the organization could foster to continue carrying its mission.

“We could only do so much with the limited funding and people involved,” he said.

Dunckley said most of the volunteers who started with COMA “hit it so hard” for the first few years they became “burned out.”

“You are carrying a message that doesn’t have much more than a gloom and doom feel,” she said. “But, there is a message out there and you’ve got to get it out there so you can have a positive effect in the end instead of just the gloom and doom that we were told about in the beginning.”

Jantz remained hopeful, however, that organizations like the Colorado Meth Project and SAPP would carry on some of COMA’s work and philosophies.

Dunckley agreed.

“It is sad to see it be done,” she said. “It truly is because there are still people that need help. You know that, but I think everybody is at the limit of what we can do as a group and it is time to turn it over to somebody else (so they can) … help those that still need it.”

Sheridan took a moment to reflect on the organization’s tenure before the meeting adjourned for the last time.

“It was amazing because we made things happen,” he said. “We rattled chains. I remember for a long time we just said we want to make noise that meth is an issue.”

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