Friday, April 28, 2023
AUBURN, Ind. – The first graduation ceremony for participants of the DeKalb County Addiction Treatment Court signified the end of one journey and the beginning of a new life for three DeKalb County residents.
The accomplishments of Jacob Arnold, Trey Stebing and Samantha Davidson were celebrated Friday night at the DeKalb County Courthouse as the three participants of the program earned their certificates of completion in front of family, friends, and mentors.
The three not only received a certificate of completion from Judge Adam Squiller, DeKalb Superior Court 1, they more importantly received a certificate stating their criminal cases were dismissed in full from Erik Weber, deputy prosecutor.
Mayor Mike Ley who has been a member of the treatment team from the beginning was on hand to congratulate the graduates as he offered them a little advice. Ley has made it his mission to dedicate each Wednesday afternoon to those participants in the program.
Mayor Ley described each of the graduates’ journeys as a “miracle.”
“I cannot believe the courage each of you participants have exhibited,” he said. “God has a plan and purpose for everyone. You are an inspiration to me each and every week.
“The friendships I have made as part of this program is remarkable,” he continued. “I want you guys to know how proud we are of you, guys. I consider each and every one of you a friend.”
Judge Squiller began the treatment program a mere six months after taking the bench in 2021, after studying successful courts in other communities around the state. He believes that it is programs such as the treatment court that help to reduce crimes and give offenders a second and third chance in life.
“The outpouring of support from the community is amazing,” Squiller said.
He stressed to the three graduates that Friday’s ceremony signaled a fresh start and a chance at a new life.
Squiller, once represented Arnold as a defense attorney.
“You not only completed our program you established yourself as a leader,” he told Arnold.
Arnold, like many who enter the program found himself in a life cycle that is destructive to not only the individual, but the individual’s family and everyone around them. Before entering the program he said his life was spiraling out of control and he was loosing the will to live.
Now though he said he has a personal connection with every member of the program.
“I have come out the other side,” he said. “I am proud to say I am sober. Without the love and support (from the program staff) I am confident I wouldn’t be here today.”
Stebing kept his remark short and sweet thanking each and every member of the addiction court team.
“I am grateful that I have found success in the program,” Stebing said.
The final participant speech came from Davidson who said she fought to get sober for many years. She said that being part of the program pushed her in the right direction. Today she has not only graduated from the program, but she is working with clients at Allendale Treatment.
“I still struggle, but I have the copping skills to deal with it,” she said. “I have met some wonderful people who are part of the program. The team believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I want to thank the judge and the team for not giving up on me.”
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Indiana Supreme Court Justice Christopher Goff.
“What’s happening here with the treatment court is outstanding,” he said. “We are here to celebrate that Jacob, Samantha and Trey are the people they are meant to be.”
He stressed to each of the family members in the audience the importance of supporting their loved ones on their journeys.
“Your loved ones are worthy of our accolades this is a difficult thing they have done,” Goff said.
Assistant Prosecutor Weber opened the ceremony by saying “this is an awesome day.”
“It is amazing to see all these people here supporting what has happened over the past 15 months,” he said.
Weber said working with the participants in the program is the favorite part of his week. He said the program allows those in the judicial system to interact with the participants in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a regular courtroom.
“The work Judge Squiller has put in has been amazing,” he said. “We can’t change people’s life without him being the leader he is.”
After the ceremony the graduates and those in attendance were treated to refreshments.