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There are moments in each of our lives that test our mind, body and spirit. The three areas are put on trial everyday. How easy is it to rebuild? Four Christian County residents can attest that it is no simple feat. This group, consisting of Danny Lowis, Emily Redfern, Ryan Buerk and Chris Tucker, spent a total of 3,170 days remodeling themselves to become the being that has been hiding deep within them. All it took was love, a few meetings and and someone to say “I won’t give up on you”.
Friday afternoon in Courtroom A transformation confirmation took place. The Problem Solving court team hosted the commencement ceremony in the Christian County Courthouse, due to some last minute switching from Davis Memorial Christian Church. The courtroom wasn’t able to fit as many so the video chatting service ‘Zoom’ helped out with that. The buzz of the crowd held over as the Honorable Judge Brad Paisley steps in. *Hush…* After having a second to grab everyones attention the relief of the “you may be seated” splits the tension. Judge Paisley has done this a time or two for this is his 10th year in the program. Judge takes some time to talk about remarkable financial stats such as “The cost of keeping the one person incarcerated is about $3,700 tax dollars every year.” The more people electing to choose problem solving court over jail is not only altering peoples lives but the lives around them and keeping people from serving time locked up behind bars.
Through this program the addict is taught how to slow the quick twitch of any kind of addiction or impulse through methods of coping skills, self reflection aka inventory and just letting out their stress and worries of day. Getting it off your chest is extremely important and not just for addicts. Talking about the emotions you feel is necessary for increased human development.
Next key component, role players such as probation officers, the always wonderful Sue Paso who’s “If you can’t hear me i’ll scream a little louder.” made the crowd roar with laughter, the Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp were and many more were able to speak about each graduate.
Chris Tucker, who was the first person to be in problem solving court post-pandemic. He has been dedicated to recovery and recovery education. He is constantly jotting down anything he thinks will be able to aid him on his journey to sobriety.
Court Case Manager, Jason Domonousky, describes Danny Lowis as the “Energizer Bunny of recovery”. Always setting himself up to send positivity to all and the continuation of a fulfilled life.
She was defiant and incredibly difficult to deal with a couple years ago but today Emily Redfern is a spunky woman who loves smiling and making people laugh.
There are very few people who have the commitment to themselves and others than Ryan Buerk. Ryan is a soft spoken guy with not a whole lot to say but so much to give.
In fact, all four plan to continue giving back to their community. The community that gave them the strength to get back up and The community that saved their lives.
After the introductions a video as played showing the physical renewal. The video contained before and after pictures of all four was a touching moment for everyone to share. Tissue boxes and smiles were being tossed around hand to hand. Lowis could not contain his tears but then neither could Redfern with Tucker and Buerk quickly hitting them like dominos.
After the video concluded the 2021 graduates were then each given time to say a few words of their own. They were also given three roses to hand to the people who had an memorable impact on their recovery. Roses were given to everyone ranging from probation officers to councilors to fathers and grand-children.
The ceremony commenced with a with the court recognizing the dropping of any criminal charge of two problem solving courts graduates by way of Nolle Prosequi. The two, Darcy Moffitt and Kimberly Cohen, were celebrated with applause and were given the opportunity to speak. After yet another warm moment shared by all the wrapping up of the ceremony ending on a Winston Churchill quote from Judge Paisley.
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
This particular commencement ceremony felt especially inspiring. Maybe because, according to the CDC, in the past year alone upwards of 100,000 deaths were caused by drug overdose. More and more signs of addiction are being recognized and, as a witness, the tide was turned on Friday, December 3rd.