Curtis Hendricks II

Curtis L. Hendricks II saw himself as a protector of his mother, his two sisters and his girlfriend.

If a friend was suffering, he would enfold the other in a warm bear hug trying to absorb the pain. He thought he could fix anything.

But the 26-year-old could not fix himself. He died Nov. 21, 2007, after courageously fighting a long, tenacious battle with the disease of addiction, according to his obituary. He was 26 years old.

Hendricks was one of three men who died the same weekend after using heroin thought to have come from the same source, according to police.

There was little doubt Hendricks cherished his ethnic heritage. His tribal name was Little Cougar. He loved to be with his father in the woods and along the water like their Wampanoag ancestors.

A loving child who became a sensitive man, "Curtis was always looking for where he belonged," his mother, Paula Hendricks, said. "I think from the first time he used drugs he was hooked. The real spiral began between five and six years ago."

"We want Curtis' life to stand for something, and apart from the love he gave all of us, we want his life to stand for hope," said his mother.

"We want something to come out of his death, and that is help for other young people who get trapped in addiction."