A 19-minute documentary detailing a Frederick County man’s rise up and out of a life of drug and alcohol addiction has been viewed by thousands worldwide, and the man behind it wants to see that message spread.
More than 3,000 people watched the documentary about Korey Shorb’s life, “Running for Recovery,” when it was released on Vimeo, a video-sharing website.
Shorb, 37, grew up in Emmitsburg.
At a young age, he started off drinking and smoking marijuana. That eventually led to heroin.
He stole to support his addiction, started selling heroin to support his addiction and served time in prison because of his addiction.
Today, Shorb has been sober for more than seven years.
He founded the nonprofit Up & Out Foundation in Frederick County this past winter to raise funds to continue documentary filming and promote the Run for Recovery, a 5K awareness race created last year by Shorb and his friends.
With additional funding, Shorb wants to film in more locations, including the prison where he served time and the places in Philadelphia and Baltimore where he was involved in drug running.
“I think talking about my story and bringing it into reality helps because people have a hard time talking about it,” Shorb said. “For me, sharing my story is a key to unlocking someone else’s prison.”
Sharing his story
Parts of Shorb’s journey — from an arrest at the age of 20 to his graduation from drug treatment court and the first “Run for Recovery” last year — have been chronicled in this newspaper.
Last year, Susan Kenedy Hood, a local freelance producer, and Mike Springirth, a local videographer and editor, agreed to help Shorb tell his story in a different way.
One of the first things they recorded was Shorb’s return to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. They flipped through Shorb’s old mug shots and booking papers and toured the cell where he’d been held, Kenedy Hood said.
“It was amazing to us … running into all these officers and people who remembered him and were telling us how awful he was when he was in there. Causing floods, food fights,” Kenedy Hood said. “They were so happy to see him where he is today and so proud of him.”
The documentary also includes footage of Shorb speaking with hundreds of students at Oakdale High School and the first Run for Recovery.
When the film came out in January, people were almost immediately reaching out to Shorb. An addictions counselor from Adams County thanked Shorb for sharing his life as an open book. The sister of a man who died from an overdose in Emmitsburg wrote to say that she was proud of Shorb and the difference he’s trying to make. A childhood friend who now lives in North Carolina signed up to sponsor the Run for Recovery. A woman asked for advice for her daughter, who is addicted to painkillers.
“It was very overwhelming. I didn’t even know how to handle it,” Shorb said of the 200-plus friend requests and cascade of messages.
Shorb’s story is a powerful message for individuals and families dealing with the seemingly hopeless depths of addiction now, Kenedy Hood said.
“A message like Korey’s can really help other people to get better. He really is an example of someone who came out from the very bottom and is now successful in life,” she said. “The odds were against Korey, but here he is today, leading a very successful life with a lot of promise — that’s what every person with an addicted family member hopes for their loved one.”
Still running up and out
Shorb, once prosecuted in the Frederick County Courthouse, just wrapped up an internship through the same Drug Treatment Court from which he graduated.
“It was very surreal,” Shorb said. “It was really unbelievable to be on the other side of the table.”
He received an addictions counseling certificate from Frederick Community College last month and works as a counselor at Mountain Manor Treatment Centers in Emmitsburg.
Shorb is engaged to be married and dotes on his daughter, Kalynn, who is almost 2 years old. He posts updates about his family on social media using the hashtag #sobrietyperks.
The Run for Recovery will be held again this year, and Shorb hopes to double the number of runners.
He’s receiving a boost from local groups such as the Frederick Steeplechasers and Monocacy Running Club, which have promoted the race planned for Aug. 22.
Shorb said the main goal of the run is to offer hope and erase the stigma of addiction.
He keeps his prison ID in his office and reminds those who visit him to take their recovery one day at a time.
“I always tell people you can do whatever you put your mind to,” he said. “I’m proof.”