Five people graduate from Vernon County Adult Recovery Court.
By Lynn A. Wade
Nevada Daily Mail
Tuesday evening, five people graduated from the Vernon County Adult Recovery Court, having achieved the requirements of the diversionary program and set their sights on the task of continuing to transform the shape of their futures as they leave the program.
As the five -- Larry Boin, Michael Bruhn, Jennifer Rinker, Stephanie Starbuck an Meghan Tymeson -- listened to the ceremony unfold in the Circuit Courtroom of the Vernon County Courthouse, Randy Pike held a block of wood up to the crowd. Likening the lives of the graduates to the untouched wood, he said the wood could become many things. It could remain as it is; it could become kindling and go up in smoke. Or, it could be carved into something beautiful.
"At this point, it could be anything," Pike said. "It's up to you."
Pike, an accomplished woodcarver and taxidermist, as well as the unopposed Republican candidate for the Missouri House of Representative's 126th District, said he hopes they choose to carve something beautiful. The partially completed duck decoy he used to illustrate his point next, is made by "carving and chipping away the parts you don't want," to create something new and appealing. Sometimes, woodcarvers make mistakes. They don't cast out the effort; they adapt and fix the error -- something that requires time, effort and thought.
As in life, sometimes the carving doesn't quite work the way it was planned; so changes bring the project back to its intended beauty.
So it is, Pike said, in life, and closed his address with words of encouragement to the graduates.
"What you've already accomplished is huge. Always remember that duck," he said, and the power held in the carver's hands to mold it and transform it into a beautiful thing.
"You can do it."
Presiding 28th Circuit Judge James R. Bickel said that four of the five graduates honored Tuesday made it through the program in record time, but noted "that's a lot of pressure to make sure they keep doing what it is that makes them successful," like going to meetings and staying focused on their motivations for making the change they've made.
"I see five different stories of people whose lives were headed the wrong way. Prison was knocking at their door; their reservations were made; but these five people made a choice," to seek a better life, Bickel said.
Bruhn's love for his son motivated him. Bruhn thanked his family for support -- especially the son he can now mentor and care for properly.
Rinker had been in jail and tried other programs, but nothing had worked. Rinker tearfully told supporters in the crowd how much she appreciated their willingness to help her and to accept her, although she'd made many mistakes.
Boin came into the program with a long history of substance abuse, but completed the program in record time, overcoming some anger issues as well along the way.
Tymeson struggled with relapses a couple of times, but recovered and went on.
Starbuck had many difficulties, and at first was not accepted into the program; but she proved she could do it by taking the first steps on her own. Court officials changed their minds and admitted her to the program, and now she's "a great example of how recovery court works," Bickel said.