GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — The very first class of the Brown County OWI treatment program graduated from the program Friday, surrounded by their friends and family.
“They’re all heroes. They’ve all succeeded. And they really, this is a special day for them and for everybody,” Brown County Circuit Court Judge John Zakowski said in his remarks at the start of the ceremony at St. James Park.
Friday was indeed a special day for program graduates like Tam Parks.
“Having my family here was wonderful,” she said. “Oh my gosh, my grandchildren are a huge part of my sobriety.”
The program is offered to people convicted of a 4th OWI and with a history of substance abuse.
“Here, we have some special people who have gone through OWI treatment court, gained a lot of experience, coping skills, and now they’re ready to go into another chapter of their lives. The rest of their lives, and be successful,” Judge Zakowski said.
It’s a new chapter for these graduates, and a sharp turn from the path they were on.
“My fourth OWI brought me to jail, and that’s where I was introduced to the treatment courts,” Parks said, “and they accepted me.”
“Their accomplishments are a message of hope for everybody here in this community,” Judge Zakowski said.
Parks told Local 5 she’s looking forward to her future.
“For me to be able to say that I’m fortunate to be able to be a sober grandma is huge. Huge, huge. Dreams do come true,” she said.
The program takes at least 18 months for participants to complete.