Shaun Gregory McComas, 29, became the first graduate of the Cabell County Adult Drug Court on Tuesday. (Photos by Kyla Asbury)
State Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin spoke at Tuesday's ceremony.
Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson also spoke at Tuesday's event.
HUNTINGTON – The Cabell County Adult Drug Court held its first graduation ceremony Tuesday at the Cabell County Courthouse to honor the first graduate of the program.
Shaun Gregory McComas, 29, was the first graduate of the program and said he could not have done it without his family.
"My family stuck by me through it all," McComas said. "I'm so grateful for them, because I know not everyone is lucky enough to have their family support them through something this difficult."
McComas said those who do not have a family to support them should strive to find the people who are willing to help them.
"You can change, but it takes a lot of action," McComas said. "But it's possible to change if you work on it."
Family Court Judge Patricia Keller, who oversees the program, said drug courts work.
"Shaun has worked very hard and has proven that drug court programs work," Keller said. "We are so proud of him and of how well he's done in this program."
Keller said there are currently 18 members in the program who have already logged more than 300 hours of community service.
Supreme Court Brent D. Benjamin said no family is immune to the affects of drugs.
"Drugs tear apart lives; tear apart futures," Benjamin said. "They tear apart families. There is nothing better than to see a family come back together after having overcome a drug problem."
Benjamin said drug courts afford people the opportunities to turn their lives back around.
Joshua Parlier, a probation officer in Cabell County, said McComas is the perfect example for the rest of the drug court members.
"Shaun never missed an appointment and attended all of his treatment," Parlier said. "He even founded an AA group."
Parlier said as soon as McComas was allowed to get a job, he immediately went out and obtained a full-time job.
"He's worked so hard," Parlier said. "He's has such a positive impact on the other members of the program."
Robin McComas, Shaun's mother, said she was proud of her son.
"If someone would have told me a few years ago that Shaun would be almost 21-months sober today, I wouldn't have believed it," Robin McComas said. "I had accepted the fact that I would be visiting my son either in jail or at his grave site."
Robin McComas said the program saved Shaun McComas.
"I hope the rest of the members of the program do as well as Shaun has," she said. "We're so thankful to have our boy back. Thank you for giving our son back to us."
Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson said the drug court program is a wonderful program.
"Drugs can totally destroy a family," Ferguson said. "But, this program has restored Shaun's family. It has given him a second chance."
Ferguson said in order to succeed and overcome an addiction, you must put your best foot forward and take it one day at a time.
Adult drug courts serve only those who have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty of nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies and who were motivated to commit those crimes due to a substance abuse addiction.
Participants undergo substance abuse treatment and are heavily supervised by probation officers, law enforcement and the sentencing court.
Cabell County's program began in September 2009.
West Virginia has 11 regional adult treatment court programs serving 27 counties and 10 juvenile treatment courts serving 12 counties.