Two Jefferson County men became the latest DWI Court graduates Tuesday morning, completing a program that — in one case — took two years.
Jefferson County Judge Kim Bridgforth, who administers the program, said the graduation was the second since the program began in October 2012, and described it as a “wonderful, exciting occasion for me and for these two guys.”
One of the graduates, Charles Thacker, said he had “come up in the Wabbaseka area and is parents ran a juke joint.”
Thacker said he started drinking at an early age and for a while, drank only beer, then switched to whiskey when the beer wasn’t strong enough.
“I’m 64 now and had a stroke 20 years ago,” he said. “The doctor asked me to quit, but I kept drinking, then I kept getting these DWI’s.”
To get into the program, people had to have a minimum of three prior DWI convictions and be willing to attend counseling sessions, perform community service, receive treatment and show up for court every week.
“This program works if you will work it,” Thacker said. “I decided to start working the program and I’m taking it one day at a time.”
The other graduate, Alan, who asked that his last name not be used, described the graduation as “a long time coming,” explaining that he had been involved in the program for two years.
“This program not only changed my life, it saved my life,” he said. “If it wasn’t for this program, I would probably be dead now.”
Like Thacker, Alan said he started drinking at an early age, but was still able to go to work every day.
“If I wasn’t working, I was drinking,” he said.
In her brief remarks, Bridgforth said “one of the wonderful things about the program is the friendship these two have formed over time with each other, and to see them love and support each other.”
The graduation ceremony was held in Jefferson County District Court and among the attendees was one of the two people who were honored during the first graduation ceremony last year.
The DWI Court receives no funding and those involved in administering the program volunteer their services.