NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 21, 2012

A father's chilling example

Seabrook man fights to share perils of drugs, alcohol abuse

AMESBURY — With jujitsu-powered biceps, a broad chest and square jaw, Charles "Chucky" Rosa has the look of a fighter.

But as he was introduced to a group of high school students Friday at Amesbury Academy to talk about the perils of substance abuse, his tough-guy exterior was quickly softened by a humbled voice.

"The reason I'm here today is I had six children, but I only have four children now," he said before pausing to look away and take a deep breath. " ... Because I lost my two oldest sons, Vincent and Dominic, to accidental drug overdoses several years ago."

For the past five years, Rosa has told his family's tragic story at schools, addiction centers, halfway houses and parent support groups through Chucky's Fight. He puts the name on T-shirts and dog tags, which he hands out to people willing to take a pledge of sobriety.

Chucky's Fight started as a result of his unique daily ritual, which he uses to attack each day head-on.

Rosa not only battles the anger and sadness over the loss of his two sons, but also his own alcoholism that has landed him in prison. Living across from a liquor store in Seabrook, he said the store calls out to him some days: "Chucky, come buy a bottle of whiskey."

So each day, no matter the temperature or the weather, Rosa begins his day on the sand at the beach near the Hampton-Seabrook bridge, where he spread his sons' ashes.

Standing in just his swim trunks and looking into a video camera held by his wife, Mary, he recites his daily log. In a video from last week, he cites the date (Feb. 11), the temperature (17 degrees), the wind-chill temperature (8 degrees) and the water temperature (38 degrees).

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