7 graduate from Drug Recovery Court

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 4/13/19

Recovery Court graduates

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

GRADUATES OF THE 10TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT Recovery Court's Drug Court program were honored during a ceremony last week. From left, front, are Richard Hughes, 10th Judicial District Public Defender; graduates Jeff May, Dakota Kincaid, Michael Miller and Cody Dawson; second row,Dustin Cox, Charlie Williams and Mario Whaley. Judge Andrew Freiberg is in very back. Other Drug Court team members in photo are Terry Wyatt, with the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force; Sandon Bull with Parkridge Valley Outpatient Services of Cleveland; Amanda Kozak, case manager; Dallas Scott, assistant district attorney with the 10th Judicial District; Carol Myers, with Parkridge Valley Outpatient Services of Cleveland; and Kelly Peels, probation officer.

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Recovery Court Michael Miller

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

MICHAEL MILLER receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Jeff May

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

JEFF MAY receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Charlie Williams

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

CHARLIE WILLIAMS receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Mario Whaley

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

MARIO WHALEY receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Dakota Kincaid

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

DAKOTA KINCAID receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Cody Dawson

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

CODY DAWSON receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court Dustin Cox

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

DUSTIN COX receives a plaque denoting his completion of the 10th Judicial District's Recovery Court, also known as Drug Court. He is shown with 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg.

Recovery Court skit

Banner photo, AUTUMN HUGHES

10TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT Recovery Court participants put on a skit loosely based on "The Wizard of Oz" during last week's graduation ceremony. Featured in "A Road to Recovery" (not shown in order) are Magan Brown (Dorothy), Dawn Eaves (Scarecrow), Gail Craig (Cowardly Lion), Timothy Harrison (Tin Man), Christopher Spruill (the Wizard), and "the strangers" Michelle Mager, Reba Dean, Sharon Mikel and Michael Wilcox.

Court graduation 4-14

The seven newest graduates of the 10th Judicial District Recovery Court were celebrated in a ceremony recently at the Bradley County Judicial Complex.

Bradley County residents Michael Miller, Jeff May, Charlie Williams, Mario Whaley, Dakota Kincaid and Dustin Cox, and McMinn County resident Cody Dawson were recognized as graduates after completing the Drug Court program.

Judge Andrew Freiberg, a circuit court judge for the 10th Judicial District Criminal Court, welcomed the graduates and their family and friends to the ceremony.

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7 graduate from Drug Recovery Court

Posted


The seven newest graduates of the 10th Judicial District Recovery Court were celebrated in a ceremony recently at the Bradley County Judicial Complex.
Bradley County residents Michael Miller, Jeff May, Charlie Williams, Mario Whaley, Dakota Kincaid and Dustin Cox, and McMinn County resident Cody Dawson were recognized as graduates after completing the Drug Court program.
Judge Andrew Freiberg, a circuit court judge for the 10th Judicial District Criminal Court, welcomed the graduates and their family and friends to the ceremony.

Freiberg said Drug Court is an intensive outpatient rehabilitation program that is an alternative to incarceration. The five-phase program lasts 18 to 24 months with treatments three days a week and court every Tuesday. In addition, participants must work or volunteer full-time.
"It's not just a matter of going to treatment," Freiberg said, adding they are learning  lessons of treatment and applying them to life.
The goal of Recovery Court is "to engage the body, the mind and the spirit," Freiberg added.
"We are after holistic life change, not just getting clean," he said.
Introducing the seven graduates, Freiberg said "in so many ways this group of men has been the heart and soul of this program" and they have been "brave enough" to make changes in their lives to stay clean and sober. He added they are putting healthy life skills into practice.
They are:
• Michael Miller, who Freiberg said had zero unexcused attendance issues in the program. Freiberg said Miller has opened his own business and hired three employees during his time in Recovery Court, and is also willing to help others with an interest in cosmetology.
Miller thanked Freiberg and the Drug Court team, as well as his family for their support. He encouraged future graduates "to do what you're supposed to do" and they will continue to have a sober life.
• Jeff May, who Freiberg said "had a  rough go of things at the start" and was nearly cut from the program, but was given a second chance and came back to Recovery Court "with a willingness to work." Freiberg added he has been amazed by "how much he has changed" since gaining custody of his young child.
"It's an honor to know this man," Freiberg said.
May thanked the Drug Court team and said he plans to be a mentor for program participants. He added you can sometimes feel like your life "is in a vice" but instead of feeling like you're stuck, you should realize that tight grip is God, forming and finishing you "in the way He wants you to be."
• Charlie Williams, who Freiberg said is "such an important part of our group and this program." He said Williams expresses genuine emotions in a healthy way that has been a model for other men in the program.
"You are a mentor … you're also very welcoming to new members and participants in this program," Freiberg said.
Williams said that recognition means a lot and he is proud of his accomplishment.
"I love all of y'all," Williams said to the Drug Court team, adding credit is due to the team and "I am who I am today, I have my family."
• Mario Whaley, who Freiberg said has struggled with addiction for most of his life, but has been clean for several months.
"As you stand here today you are a man who demands respect from others," Freiberg said. "He is always on a path to better himself and by extension to better others."
Whaley thanked the Drug Court team for helping him.
"I would never have thought that I would be sober," Whaley said, adding "it's only hard in Drug Court if you make it hard."
• Dakota Kincaid, who Freiberg admitted "he and I did not see eye to eye." But they got the chance to understand one another and Kincaid began to excel in the program. He added Kincaid has worked hard and even helped others find jobs. 
Kincaid is a father of four, an active church-goer and supporter of others in the program, Freiberg said.
"It's a great program," Kincaid said. "It works."
• Cody Dawson, who Freiberg said has been on a long road in the program, but others were willing to help him.
"You have worked hard to re-establish your credit … you continue to improve," Freiberg said. "You've shown adulthood, you have shown actual responsibility. Your graduation here today has been an inspiration to me and to others."
Dawson thanked the Drug Court team "and most importantly your iron fist," he said to Freiberg. He added it has been a hard road and acknowledged "I've definitely come along way."
To the new participants in the program, Dawson said "I know it's really hard" but encouraged them to stick with it and put in the time and work.
• Dustin Cox, who Freiberg said he demanded a lot from but Cox never got frustrated.
"I always knew for you this graduation day would come," Freiberg said. "You never give up on yourself — you never quit."
Cox, who had perfect attendance, has agreed to be a Drug Court mentor.
"You have been demonstrating what we've been teaching you," Freiberg said.
Cox thanked the Drug Court team and admitted he initially didn't want to take the program seriously, "but you've got to."
Freiberg said his role in Recovery Court "is the best part of my job" because he has the opportunity to see people "transform and be at their very best." The reward is when they start to see the participants believe in themselves.
Among the guests at the ceremony was Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson, who congratulated the graduates.
"When you leave here, we want you to stay on track," he added.
Richard Hughes, public defender for the 10th Judicial District, said his office hosts a free GED program every Wednesday, and it is open to anyone 18 or older. Participation in Recovery Court is not required to take the GED class.
Representatives from Celebrate Recovery and The Refuge also spoke about those programs, which offer classes and support.
Bill Cherry, director of the 10th Judicial District's Drug Task Force, said the people in the Recovery Court program learn a lot "but they also teach us."
"We believe in this program," Cherry said.
Freiberg said virtually all funds for Recovery Court go to drug testing and treatment for participants. He added he, Hughes, DTF liaison Terry Wyatt, the district attorney's staff and others are all volunteers.
"All of us are here because we believe in this and it's a way to give back," Freiberg said.
Freiberg invited Recovery Court graduates, known as Legacy graduates, to speak to participants and share inspiration.
In addition to the graduation ceremony, current Drug Court participants presented "A Road to Recovery," a skit loosely based on "The Wizard of Oz." The Wizard (Christopher Spruill) sends Dorothy (Magan Brown), Scarecrow (Dawn Eave), Cowardly Lion (Gail Craig) and Tin Man (Timothy Harrison) on the "Road to Pine Valley" where they can get help to get their lives back on track. Along the way, Dorothy and friends encounter strangers (Michelle Mager, Reba Dean, Sharon Mikel and Michael Wilcox) who try to lead them astray. However, the strangers end up following the "Road to Pine Valley" and find freedom from drug addiction.
"A Road to Recovery" was created and written by Janet Caldwell, who also directed it. Costumes and set design were by Ashley Clements, and makeup was by Catherine Palmer.

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