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Luke Tomsha, founder and executive director of Perfectly Flawed Foundation, holds up a vial of Narcan while speaking at an Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development luncheon. Tomsha said Narcan he provided recently saved a life. Narcan is a life-saving, overdose-reversing drug, and Tomsha recommended everyone receive training in how to administer it. “You’d rather be in a position to save a life than not save a life,” he said.

A sense of purpose is important for both preventing and overcoming addiction.

That’s what Luke Tomsha, founder and executive director for the Perfectly Flawed Foundation, said at a gathering recently in the community room in Peru’s municipal building.

He spoke during Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development’s monthly IVAC Connect luncheon.

“I attribute my addiction to several things, but lack of purpose in career was a big one,” Tomsha said. “I hated I.T.”

Tomsha, an addict in recovery, said finding purpose is what informs the focus of his not-for-profit organization that attempts to help communities hurt by opioid addiction. It’s also the reasoning behind the community partner program that starts in September and offers up to $250 per year in a grant scholarship for activities such as yoga, music, art and more to children who have lost loved ones to addiction.

“Instead of ‘Just Say No,’ it’s giving kids something to say yes to,” Tomsha said. “The biggest thing right now is focusing on children and ending the cycle of addiction. We really want to give these kids a leg up.”

He said so far about a dozen community members have stepped up to give to the program, but more are welcome.

A call-to-action forum is also in the works.

It’s planned for 2-4:30 p.m. Sept.12 at a location to be announced.

“We’re involving people from Lake County, Illinois and representatives from Dixon, Ill.,” Tomsha said.

He said the goal of the event would be to try to jump-start some sort of coalition for La Salle County similar to Bureau County’s Community Partners Against Substance Abuse.

“The grants available all need coalitions,” Tomsha said.

There are other events in the works, too.

A candlelight vigil is also planned for Aug. 31, which is overdose awareness day, a fundraising auction will be Nov. 15, and Perfectly Flawed Book Club will be starting a new book soon, Tomsha said,

The Perfectly Flawed Book Club is a Facebook group, and Tomsha said more information about upcoming events will appear on the Perfectly Flawed Facebook page.

For more information or to suggest possible beneficiaries of the community partner program, Tomsha recommended emailing Team@PerfectlyFlawed.org.

While Tomsha was born in Peru, lives in La Salle and focuses his organization’s attention on the Illinois Valley, he is also involved in talks about the opioid crisis and eliminating hepatitis C at the state and national level.

He said his involvement in wide-scoped discussions allows him to network and plant seeds that may ultimately yield benefits in the future.

“I get a lot of perspective I bring back to the area,” Tomsha said.

Ben Hohenstatt can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or perureporter@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_Peru.

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Brynn Twait works as a reporter covering the City of Peru. She can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or perureporter@newstrib.com.

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