In the fourth installment of the Leader-Call’s series on the most recent graduating class of drug court — which will be published Tuesday — Nicole McKee will be featured. She went from years of abuse through addiction and has come out on the other side. She now drives an ambulance, having traded killing herself with drugs to helping save others. Hers is an inspirational story, and we urge you to read it on Tuesday.

Chelsea Robinson, who is in the same graduating class, will become an RN before year’s end, so she will also be helping others instead of hurting. We highlight graduates from a program that is grueling because anyone who can overcome it is worthy of such praise. Consider it the last stop before the cell doors close, a way out. But it is not easy.

Many of us suffer with addictions of some sort. Most are manageable. The ones that aren’t can be debilitating. Once the taste is there, it gets greater and greater, and it takes more and more to satisfy that craving. Life spirals out of control. It is a sad dive into the depths of despair.

Often, when those times happen, those arrested will appear prominently in these pages. It is not pleasant for either us or the person in the jail mugshot on Page 1. Those who appear on those front pages usually are not big fans of ours. It is understandable.

And that makes their willingness to tell the most personal aspects of their most personal failings and achievements astounding. Not nearly as astounding of what each of these graduates has accomplished, though. 

Consuelo Walley, Kenyada Smith, Judge Dal Williamson, the late Officer Jimmy Dale Reynolds, Officer Carol Windham and all of the drug court staff are the stern, loving parents. They laugh and cry with those trying to get through drug court. Every day is an emotional roller coaster. Their job is so important. We are grateful for them.

We also are grateful to those who opened up to us to tell their stories of beating addiction. We hope someone out there who is fighting addiction might read their words, feel their emotions, their heartache and their sense of victory and get inspired to defeat that addiction before they find themselves leaned over a police car wearing handcuffs.

To the graduates and those who have worked so hard to help them on their journey, we thank you. While we are hesitant to speak for the community, we will this time: The community thanks you, too

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