The impact McGovern had on alcoholism awareness - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

The impact McGovern had on alcoholism awareness

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As much of the community mourns the loss of Senator George McGovern, we take a closer look at the impact he leaves behind.

In our coverage, we've talked about his life in the military, his campaign for presidency and passion to end world hunger. But there's one thing we don't want to overlook: the impact he made on alcoholism awareness.

McGovern had five children. One of them died in 1994 after a long battle with alcoholism and 68 visits to a detox facility.

Terry 'Teresa' McGovern was her name, which was the title of Sen. McGovern's book detailing his personal struggles as a parent who was affected by the disease.

McGovern played a big role in awareness after Terry's death and we stopped by one treatment facility in town to learn how.

TLC Tallgrass is a 30-day recovery program for alcoholics and drug addicts founded by concerned citizens six years ago.

When it comes to the awareness, director Dennis Ford says, it was thanks to Senator McGovern and his book 'Terry' that detailed the impact of the disease as something we shouldn't forget.

"A public figure like that standing up and saying 'this touches me like everyone else', proves again, that alcohol and addiction knows no class, doesn't care who you are, what you are. If you have it, you have it," TLC Tallgrass Director Dennis Ford said.

McGovern removed the stigma of alcoholics and brought awareness to the benefits of treatment. Ford describes McGovern's unique viewpoint that we don't often find: a father's personal heartbreak and tragedy.

"People, like George McGovern, and their willingness to step up and relate their own personal experiences - like he did in his book - is very valuable," Ford said.

He called McGovern, who was a regular at the facility, the perfect gentlemen. Though he lost his daughter to the disease, he strived to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else.

"He was here, talked to people, was gracious to everyone. Pretty important to our organization I believe," Ford said.

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