Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All Rise America! is Underway

MAY 1, 2012

All Rise America! It’s National Drug Court Month and NADCP’s All Rise America! National Motorcycle Relay for Recovery is officially underway. Over the next 24 days, Drug Court graduates, Drug Court professionals, veterans, and other concerned citizens will carry the All Rise Gavel over 3,000 miles coast-to-coast, stopping at 25 Adult Drug Court, DWI Court, Family Drug Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Tribal Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court events to honor individuals who have overcome their addictions and the dedicated justice and treatment professionals who help make it possible. At each stop, riders will pass the gavel to a new group of riders as a symbol of the collective impact of Drug Courts and a reminder that when one person rises out of addiction and finds recovery, we All Rise.

The All Rise America! Support Vehicle makes a stop by the Pacific Ocean before beginning the 3,000 mile journey across the country.

NADCP CEO West Huddleston and Judge Wendy Lindley pass the All Rise Gavel to Mike Jones, a combat veteran who served nine tours in Iraq and is now participating in Veterans Treatment Court.

All Rise America! began this morning with a graduation at the Orange County Combat Veterans Treatment Court. The success of Drug Courts has led to the establishment of special court dockets for veterans suffering from substance abuse and/ or mental illness. Judge Wendy Lindley’s Combat Veterans Treatment Court was one of the first in the nation and is designed specifically for veterans who have served in combat and whose troubles with the law can be linked to their war experiences. There are 97 Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States and hundreds more are being planned.

“It is an honor to be in a courtroom with people committed to keeping veterans out of prison and connected to the benefits and services they have earned,” said NADCP CEO West Huddleston before handing the official All Rise Gavel to Judge Lindley, officially commencing All Rise America! Judge Lindley then passed the gavel to Mike Jones, the relay’s first official gavel bearer. Mike is a combat veteran who served nine tours in Iraq. On his final tour he lost his leg but it has not kept him from his passion for riding motorcycles. When Judge Lindley asked for volunteers to be the official All Rise America! Gavel Bearer Mike was the first to volunteer. He is a father, a student, and a proud participant in the Orange County Combat Veterans Treatment Court.

The ceremony in Santa Ana was held to honor Juan, a graduate of the program who know owns his own business. He spoke about the tough lessons learned in a program that can sometimes feel very little like court. “When I first got here I looked around and was amazed this was even a court,” he said. “I had never seen anything like it.” Juan thanked Judge Lindley for her support throughout his time in Veterans Treatment Court and was presented with a special coin by one of the court’s fifteen volunteer veteran mentors.

Following honest, funny and heartfelt remarks from legendary composer Paul Williams, the court adjourned. We profiled Paul in our previous post, check it out to learn how the Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winner came to support Drug Courts.

A group of riders including a couple of Sober Riders from San Diego joined veterans and friends of the court for the ride to Los Angeles for a special Gavel Hand-Off ceremony. We are currently cruising down the 405. Stay tuned.

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