The stories and voices that emerge out of the Union-Snyder County treatment courts are heartwarming and offer a glimpse of true redemption.

Union-Snyder’s court is one of the nation’s best. This week, it was announced it will continue as an official mentor court nationwide until 2023. The data speaks for itself. The local court has an 8 percent recidivism rate. The U.S. rate is 67 percent.

The data is only part of the story. The individuals who emerge from the program are clearly changed for the better. This week, Alea Rudy, Derek Hubler, Teresa Groat and Nathan Smith successfully “graduated the program,” pushing the total to 214 participants over the past 12 years.

In some cases, families are restored and lives are saved. Trust is gained.

After graduating from the program, Rudy noted how her boss had given her a key to the factory she worked at, an indication of the trust he had in her. That trust comes with a level of expectation, one that Rudy and those who have gone through the program clearly understand.

For others, success is more black and white.

“This program is exactly what I needed,” Smith said. “Without it, I would be dead.”

Kudos to those who have made the Union-Snyder courts a model for others around the nation. And a “job well done,” to the latest round of graduates, who can pass on the positive messages they have learned from the hard-working professionals in the system.

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