Community helping community: Longtime area business donates to Lauren’s Wish

Community was the focus of a recent donation to the Lauren’s Wish Addiction Triage Center from Mona Supply Co. and Anheuser-Busch. 

“This type of situation affects families everywhere,” said Larry Oleksa, owner of local beer and beverage distributor Mona Supply Co. Inc.  

“I actually know a couple of families that it affected, and I thought this is a great thing for us to be able to do because if what we are contributing helps just one life it’s worth it,” he said. “So that’s the biggest thing – to give back and try to help the entire idea of what they are doing here.” 

Oleksa and Anheuser-Busch Regional Commerical Manager Nick Cyr stopped by the Lauren’s Wish center at Hazel’s House of Hope on Friday afternoon to present the organization that helps people with substance abuse problems with a $7,500 check. 

Funds for the donation were raised through the sales of select Anheuser-Busch products during October and November in Monongalia County. 

Founder and chairman of Lauren’s Wish, Michael Cole, said receiving the donation “solidifies that the community is starting to learn and understand what we are about and come on board to help us do what we do – which is to help save lives.” 

The Lauren’s Wish Addiction Triage Center covers a gap in addiction treatment between the hospital following an overdose and a long-term treatment center where many suffering from addiction are left to fend for themselves while waiting for placement in a center.  

This void in addiction recovery is what Lauren’s Wish tries to fill by providing a safe and healthy space for individuals who are seeking treatment placement.  

Clients are monitored by peer recovery staff and have access to case management and addiction recovery resources in a healthy environment.  When a placement is made, Lauren’s Wish transports them to their destination, ensuring that safe environment is not compromised. 

“We’re not a medical place. We care,” said Lind Murray, director of Lauren’s Wish. “And so, by caring for an individual and making sure he or she gets the proper help that they need, I think that’s the most important thing and I think we do that very well here.” 

Murray said that in addition to the monetary donation, Oleksa is also donating the wood needed to build a memorial wall in Lauren’s Wish Memorial Garden outside the center. The memorial wall will serve as a tribute to those who have lost their battles with addiction. 

“When you step up to the plate in your community and just don’t say the words, but put effort into it, it speaks big on his part,” Murray said. “I think it’s a great thing for the community that the businessmen of Morgantown are understanding that there is a problem.” 

Edward Boyle, director of facilities for Lauren’s Wish, agreed adding they were happy to have the support of Oleska, whose business has served the community for decades. 

“The Oleksa family has always supported this community and all the different programs,” Boyle said. “Mr. Oleksa has even been here previously and took a tour.” 

Because the facility does not charge for services and no client will ever receive a bill for their stay at the center, donations from the community help to keep the doors open. 

“We still haven’t received any federal or state funding,” Cole said. “So, the community support is what keeps us going on a daily basis right now.” 

Cole added that Oleksa has taken a “big step forward and has already committed to doing it again next year, so it’s very impressive.” 

For Oleksa, it wasn’t about the Mona Supply or Anheuser-Busch name, but doing something that truly impacts the community, he said. 

“We feel very fortunate to be a part of all this and we hope that we’ll be able to help out for years to come.” 

It isn’t about the publicity for Lauren’s Wish either, Boyle said. But getting the word out is the only way to keep the center open. 

Murray said he thinks the word is getting out about Lauren’s Wish and those who need help are learning they can get the help they need at the center, but it needs to keep being talked about, so more people know what they can offer. 

“And that’s how you break the stigma (of addiction),” Cole added, “you get people talking about it.” 

Keeping the center going and growing, “will also build the community,” Murray said. “Because that addict that gets their help may turn around and help the other ones that need help. That’s how addiction works – once you know your job is to turn around and help someone else.” 

Donations to the center do not have to be monetary as they are always in need of items like toiletries, food and other essentials. 

If you would like to learn more about the work being done at Lauren’s Wish or donate to their mission, visit They are also happy to give tours of the facility to anyone wanting a closer look.