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Drug/DUI courts celebrate graduates

The Hill County DUI/Drug courts graduated five people Thursday at the Hill County Courthouse. After the ceremony, the graduates and their supporters gathered for cake, brownies and punch.

Audrey Barger, Hill County justice of the peace, said the program is intensive and that the graduates had to follow all of her court orders and participate in their required counseling, among other things.

"It's so great to just watch them recover and learn how to maintain their sobriety and not be in jail all the time and not be breaking the law all the time," she said. "They all do amazing work - (they worked) really hard to get there."

Paul Nugent, court coordinator, said this program helps participants become productive members of society.

"I think they all did a wonderful job," he said.

Several graduates praised the program.

Dena Rudio said she was involved with the program for about one year before graduation.

"(The staff members) have all been really wonderful to work with. They're willing to do anything for people," she said.

Rudio added that this program changed her life in a "major positive way."

"My health has been better in the last year or so, and I'm just more confident in myself now," she said.

Joseph Corner, said he learned how to be open and honest through this program.

"It's as easy as you make it, it can be difficult," Corner said. "Its changed my life, and it's made me look at people the way that life should be managed - being more responsible and making better choices."

Anthony Moreni said this program taught him responsibility and accountability.

"When I came into the program, I was kind of just still living off my parents right out of high school," he said. "Now, at the end of the day, I pay all my own bills."

Darcy Azure said the program made him a better person.

"The best thing about this program is that the people are always here to support you whenever you need them," he said. "If I need them, I can still get a hold of them. I know they're still there to support me."


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