Years ago, as Racine’s captain of detectives, I interviewed a mid 20-year-old suspect as he entered the criminal justice system. While sobbing, he acknowledged being addicted to illicit drugs, had unsuccessfully tried different treatment techniques, and related a long list of problems associated with his addiction.
After retiring, I volunteered to serve as a mentor in a program staffed by individuals, representing different disciplines, and dedicated to aiding addicted veterans. An organization involving Racine County Judge Michael Pointek, an outstanding firm but fair jurist.
Once a week, as a treatment court mentor, I substituted for an absent mentor to ensure his client continued on the road to recovery. Recognizing its validity, I based my effort on this definition of drug addiction, “a non-curable but treatable disease.” It is not a character defect.
My reward? Twice a year I beamed internally as clients, with whom I dealt, graduated from the highly structured program.
Last month, The Racine Journal Times carried a story describing the need of volunteers to serve as mentors for those veterans serving a sentence imposed by Judge Pointek, who presides over the Veteran's Treatment Court. Mentors aid adjudicated veterans develop and maintain the ability to control their dependency on drugs/alcohol.
The story’s headline caught my eye. After reaching 93 years of age and giving up my car, I recently and reluctantly tendered my resignation as a mentor. However, to help recruit mentors, I offer this personal endorsement of an extremely worthwhile and rewarding program.
Earl O. Christianson