BLANCHESTER — Each and every drug court graduate, said the You-Turn graduation speaker, provides a gift for the rest of us.
“It’s a precious gift. It’s a gift that anyone can reach out and take. What they’re giving to us is the gift of hope, right?” said television documentary producer Richard Wonderling at Thursday night’s You-Turn Recovery Docket graduation ceremony.
The graduates make it clear that there are people who have been in that dark place of substance addiction and yet were able to get out, he said.
“I think that’s a fantastic gift, and that’s why I’m happy to be part of this celebration,” said Wonderling, who produced a public television documentary about a Blanchester-area farmer and others impacted by the opiate problem in rural Ohio.
One thing that stuck out to him with this story and it was pretty obvious, Wonderling said, was the problem of the social stigma.
“That was like the arch-enemy of this whole situation,” he said.
Wonderling added he cannot talk about smashing the stigma without talking about Roger Winemiller, the Blanchester farmer who in 2016 lost two of his three children to heroin overdoses.
“I think he is the ultimate stigma smasher; I think that is like his super-power,” the TV documentarian said.
He’s heard the farmer talk about it a lot, and he’s heard him “reach out and really make an impression on people.”
Because Winemiller is such an important part of the documentary, Wonderling presented him the Emmy statuette he was awarded for producing the film titled “20 Seconds of Courage: Fighting the Opioid Addiction in Rural Ohio”.
The documentary can be accessed online at https://video.thinktv.org/video/20-seconds-of-courage-1rmpi8/ .
Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck, who presides over the You-Turn Recovery Docket commonly called the drug court, delivered “Final Thoughts” toward the end of the ceremony.
The judge said he thinks the documentary will stand the test of time, and was a step in sweeping away the stigma around people who experience substance use struggles.
There were five You-Turn Recovery Docket graduates recognized with medallions and framed certificates Thursday at the eighth such ceremony for the Clinton County 18-month program.
The graduates are Mark Allen, Michele Arledge, Kyle Hargrave, Bambi Klaue, and Frank Moore (posthumous).
Moore participated in You-Turn for about 11 months, said Rudduck, and had done unbelievably well prior to his unexpected death from medical issues (not a drug overdose).
The day before he died Moore wrote on Facebook, “I just want to let the world know I’m now 11 months clean. I’ve never in my life accomplished anything like this. I want to thank everybody that had faith in me.”
When Moore applied for admittance to You-Turn, many people thought he would never make it, reported Rudduck.
Because Moore was on track to graduate, he was posthumously recognized as a You-Turn grad. His son was presented the You-Turn medallion with other family members also onstage. The judge told the son he should be very proud of his dad, adding his father was motivated.
The ceremony was held in the Elevation Community Church in Blanchester, where the church’s praise band presented three songs.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.