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Drug court completions celebrated

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Delta County District Court Judge Steven Parks welcomes people in attendance at a graduation ceremony for participants in Delta County’s drug/sobriety court Monday.

ESCANABA — Two more participants in Delta County’s drug/sobriety court have successfully completed the program. These participants were honored at a graduation ceremony held at the Delta County Courthouse Monday afternoon.

The goal of the drug court is to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol overcome their habits. It has been running since 2016; so far, 12 people have graduated from the program, including those who graduated Monday.

Attendees were welcomed to the graduation ceremony — the drug court’s fourth — by Delta County District Court Judge Steven Parks.

“This is a day that we are very proud of — it’s a day that we really look forward to,” he said.

Parks also spoke about the importance of having graduation ceremonies for drug court participants who are able to complete the program.

“These two are really in an elite group,” he said of Monday’s graduates. “Drug court is not easy — it’s about a 15-to-24-month commitment.”

According to Parks, about 41 percent of the people who have entered drug court have been able to graduate.

Case Manager Jeana LaCarte introduced the drug court participants graduating from the program to audience members Monday. (Both graduates requested not to be identified.)

Opening remarks for the graduation ceremony were delivered by Delta County Administrator Emily DeSalvo. DeSalvo said the goal of her remarks was to convey the “grit” shared by all drug court graduates.

“I feel that the two of you exemplify that characteristic more than any graduate that I’ve seen,” she said to Monday’s graduates.

She said the word “grit” is often associated with athletes and the effort they put towards achieving their goals.

“I feel that these participants are no different, and they deserve every bit of respect that our society gives to professional or Olympic athletes — and, in my humble opinion, I feel that they deserve more respect,” DeSalvo said.

LaCarte read testimonials prepared by the graduates and graduation speaker Tina Seymour delivered a short speech.

Seymour has seen the effects of drug addiction firsthand — a member of her family had struggled with drug addiction.

“He had a terrible addiction — probably from, I’m guessing, 18 till he passed. He was 11 days shy of his 37th birthday,” she said.

Shortly before his death, Seymour had visited him in Arizona, where he lived with his girlfriend.

“I went down to see him this December and he had gotten a full-time job. I thought he was on the road to mending,” she said.

On Jan. 2, Seymour received a call from her relative’s girlfriend, who said he was in the emergency room on life support. She arrived in Arizona the next day and learned he had had a heart attack.

Efforts to revive Seymour’s relative were unsuccessful, and he was taken off life support and pronounced dead.

“He donated organs so others could live. I got to have a lock of his hair and his palm print — and his memories, of course,” Seymour said.

Seymour said she wanted to do anything she could in support of Delta County’s drug court program in the hopes that other people would not end up like her relative did.

“I’m doing this because I think this is wonderful. I think this is amazing, what you’re doing — I just can’t believe it,” she said.

After Seymour’s speech, certificates of graduation were presented to the graduates, local supporters of the drug court program were recognized and Parks delivered closing remarks.

Parks said 12 people have graduated from the drug court so far.

“That may not seem like a lot, but what we know from people in recovery is that they have people that are affected by their recovery in a positive way,” he said.

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