While many local parents prepared to watch their children complete high school and begin a new chapter in their lives, a different kind of graduation ceremony was taking place last Thursday at the Dawson County Courthouse.
Eight participants in Dawson County Treatment Court’s three tracks completed their requirements and have now graduated from the program.
Like typical commencement ceremonies across the country, their loved ones watched with tear-filled eyes and smiles on their faces.
“I used to lay awake at night waiting for that phone call,” said a local mother as she told her son, who asked that his name not be printed, how proud she was he completed 24 months of drug treatment to turn his life around. “I got that call three times. That phone call is the best thing that ever happened.”
With completion of the program, her son’s felony drug charges are dismissed and he can continue his life as a sober young man.
“I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” his proud mother said fighting back the tears.
Mary Davis was one of four participants who graduated from the program’s DUI track, and like the three others, Davis credits the recovery and rehabilitation program for saving her life.
A tambourine player in a local band, Davis realized after her fourth DUI that she needed to change jobs to rid herself of the alcohol available as she performed her music in area bars.
“I thank God I didn’t hurt me or anyone else on the road,” she said, holding up her plaque and medallion she received for completing the program.
Participants in the program are closely monitored with weekly drug and alcohol screenings and must attend group and individual meetings.
The program has had a profound impact on James Reed, who said the compassion he received from program sponsors, other participants and the program’s support staff made him begin “caring about himself.”
Created in 2006 by Judge Jason Deal, Dawson County Treatment Court focuses on creating positive life choices and increasing family relations, employment and fiscal responsibility.
It also works to lower criminal behavior, substance abuse and health risks with the goal of helping participants become productive members of their community.
Earlier this month, dozens of treatment court participants braved torrential downpours to take part in Keep Dawson County Beautiful’s community clean-up effort, which collected more than 80 bags of litter and 18 old tires in western Dawson County.
“Dawson County Treatment Court is a benefit to Dawson County in many ways,” Deal said.
Since its creation, the program has graduated five participants in the drug track, 16 in DUI and seven in the new early intervention track.
There are currently 84 participants in the program.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.