BEDFORD – Thursday morning was a time of celebration for four individuals who graduated from Lawrence County Superior Court II Problem Solving Court.
Superior Court II Judge Bob Cline opened the celebration, with a familiar face in the galley as former Superior Court II Judge William Sleva was there to celebrate with this graduating group.
Jacob Ray, Kyle Chenault, Adam Shoults, and Robert Terrell were all successful in completing the program and were recognized for their efforts and hard work to achieve this moment with their families.
“I was initially a doubter of this program that Judge Sleva had started, but sitting here now with these four awesome individuals has made me a believer,” said Judge Cline. “I am 100 percent certain that this is the right thing for our community. The joy I get in seeing all of these individuals go through the program and come out on the other side different people makes me glad.”
The mission and goal of the court are to provide change, promote public safety, and assist participants in remaining clean and sober lives as productive members of society. Starting in 2004 with approximately 72 individuals graduating from the program the problem solving court has allowed individuals to reclaim their lives.
“Starting this program was difficult, it was a lot of work but it soon became the best part of my week,” said Sleva. “Watching all of these graduates from Phase I all the way here to graduation is truly incredible. I will never stop praising you all or this program.”
Jacob Ray was able to address those in attendance with a letter discussing his past choices and decisions that led him to the problem solving court program.
“The hardest part for me was having to deal with all of the emotions I used to suppress with my addiction. They came back all at once and it made me realize that I didn’t want this life anymore,” said graduate Jacob Ray. “The problem solving court was offered and it became the greatest thing for me. I am forever thankful for the support I have received from my family and the program workers for helping me find the right path.”
Kyle Chenault spoke about his family and how grateful he is to be where he is now, with those who love and care about him.
“I struggled for several years with my addiction, blaming it as hereditary from my parents, and I continued using that as an excuse,” Kyle Chenault said. “This program has forever changed my life and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the program staff, my fiancé, and my kids.”
Judge Cline concluded with saying, “This group here today is the best, aside from their families, and I know they will do their best in reaching out to others who need it, like they did before and will continue to lift one another up.”