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Eight drug court graduates share success stories at Beulah Grove Baptist Church

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Each drug court graduate receiving a certificate Thursday had a different background.

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Nikki Wright, one of eight people graduating from drug court Thursday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church, wipes away a tear while her daughter speaks.  Staff
Staff
Nikki Wright, one of eight people graduating from drug court Thursday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church, wipes away a tear while her daughter speaks.

Some had been in and out of jail for years; others decided to get some help before they reached that point.

Some are finally sober enough to start families; others are rebuilding relationships destroyed through years of drug abuse.

All eight were unanimous, however, in their praise for the 2-year program that held them accountable for their choices and taught them the reasons behind their addictions.

Lawrence Martin told the large crowd assembled at Beulah Grove Baptist Church he reached rock bottom after going to jail for the sixth time. He was desperate to start his life over with the woman waiting for him on the outside.

“Drug court gave me that chance,” said Martin, who through hard work gained a new family, a house, a full-time job and reconnected with his two grown daughters.

Drug court is a collaborative effort between Superior Court Judge James Blanchard and several other agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office and Jones Behavioral Health. Participants must submit to weekly drug screens, a curfew, frequent counseling sessions and fulfill other obligations. The more effort they make, the sooner it’s completed and their criminal charges are dropped. Failure to meet criteria equals jail time and eventually they are dropped out of the program.

As Blanchard said: “They have discovered new strengths and confronted old weaknesses.”

All of the drug court graduates shared their success stories and the lessons learned during the program. Donnie Campbell now owns his own computer repair business, which started on a folding table in his bedroom. A four-time convicted felon, Campbell said graduates have to take initiative and make opportunities happen. Drug court allowed Brandon Burgess to repair broken relationships with his brother, father and mother. “I was a lost soul,” he said.

Family members chimed in throughout ceremony, testifying to the change in their loved one’s life through drug court. Graduate Nikki Wright’s daughter, Nicquea Wright, called her mother a “beautiful soul.”

“We’re just happy to have you happy,” she said.

Glenda Smith said she practically begged the courts to have her son, Kevin Smith, enrolled into the program because nothing else had worked up until that point.

“Since he has been home he is like a different person. I depend on him a lot,” Smith said.

Graduate Larry Thomas reserved most of his remarks for praise of Blanchard. He joked that he still gets nervous around a judge, but praised Blanchard for his straightforward, honest manner.

“He talks to you like another individual. He lets you know your worth and that you are meaningful,” Thomas said.

Terri Edwards said before she entered drug court she thought she was lacking in some way, but that drug court showed her the strength she had inside.

Graduate Willa Barnes summed up her feelings this way:

“I can’t describe in words my gratefulness,” she said.

Comments (7) Add comment
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happychimer
18030
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happychimer 09/29/11 - 09:16 pm
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Best wishes to all of you.

Best wishes to all of you.

Riverman1
84926
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Riverman1 09/29/11 - 09:21 pm
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A fantastic program!!!

A fantastic program!!!

daviddunagan
331
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daviddunagan 09/29/11 - 10:42 pm
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Donnie Campbell with PC

Donnie Campbell with PC Doctor recently donated a computer to a deserving disabled person without being asked to do it. He is now able to give back to society. Thank you Judge Blanchard for this life changing program.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 09/29/11 - 11:00 pm
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Good luck with your new

Good luck with your new lives, glad you were able to get the help you needed!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 09/30/11 - 04:01 am
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Let's pray that this program

Let's pray that this program helps people turn their lives around.

Now, on a more pragmatic level, when is this program scheduled for evaluation by a competent, disinterested, out-of-state entity whose report would be published in the county's legal organ and released to all local radio/TV outlets for mass dissemination?

cityman
-6
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cityman 09/30/11 - 06:03 am
0
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The program needs to be
Unpublished

The program needs to be expanded!

david jennings
616
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david jennings 09/30/11 - 08:11 am
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Isnt the positive great?I

Isnt the positive great?I have an old friend who fell from being successful to the bottom,in and out of jail,lost it all in little more than ten years.I ran into him a few months ago and I knew right away he was the guy he was before.Because of a program such as this drug court he is now been clean and sober for over one year,goes to AA/NA regularly.Also is involved in church.It is a pleasure to see him now and I know he will never go back.God bless the people involved in this program.

PCDoctor
0
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PCDoctor 09/30/11 - 03:55 pm
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today we concentrate on all

today we concentrate on all the wrong that people are doing it is nice to see the media take interest when someone takes the bad and makes something good out of it. I am glad that I am now able to share my story with others that they may see it is possible to turn your life around and be a success. God has truly worked miracles through Judge Blanchard and Jones Behavioral. Not everyone that comes to such a program is serious about changing their lives and yes those are the ones who fall right after they finish the program but for those few who want help and are willing to work and seek the truth about themselves IT WILL HAPPEN. I thank the everyone who supports and backs this program because we need more like it

shrimp for breakfast
5457
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shrimp for breakfast 09/30/11 - 05:19 pm
0
0
good job!

good job!

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