EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - "I never thought I'd be clean and sober. I never thought I'd be living as good a life as I am now," says John Dorraugh.
We have a 14 News Exclusive on a story we have been following about an Evansville man gaining attention for turning his life around after drug addiction.
Dorraugh is one of the 19 who graduated from the Vanderburgh County Treatment Court program Tuesday.
"It's an exciting time for us. It's another graduation," says Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge David Kiely.
Applause filled the courtroom for one of the largest groups of graduates to go through Treatment Court.
"John, why don't you come on up? Congratulations," says Judge Kiely.
"Thank you," says Dorraugh.
"I am very, very proud to present you with this plaque for completing the first part," said Vanderburgh County Treatment Court Case Manager Dana Allyn.
Dorraugh may be finished with Drug Court, but it will always be a defining part of his life. He knows he has come a long way, and he thanks his support system.
"I want to thank God because I prayed every day when I was in prison to be a better father, to be a better son and brother, and man to my fiance, and he's given me all of those things," says Dorraugh.
After God, he thanks his family for inspiration in the form of his little girl Libby Jo and his fiance Ashley. Even from day one, Allyn says Dorraugh was motivated to change.
"He did everything that was asked of him, and he never lost faith. He never presented with a negative attitude and has actually really become a role model for some of the others," says Allyn.
Dorraugh was a role model in a room of 18 other graduates who shared their emotional stories and extreme gratitude to the program and the people that gave the gift of just one more chance. Playing a part in success stories like Dorraugh keeps case managers doing what they do.
"When you come here and you see how John Dorraugh did; yes this program does work. As long as somebody wants to change their life, this program will show them how to do it," says Allyn.
Dorraugh wanted to change his life, so he did. He says he owes it to drug court.
"I have a job. I provide for my family. I'm finally the person I've always wanted to be," says Dorraugh.
Dorraugh also thanks his employer Trivalence for taking a chance when hiring a man with a drug conviction. Several of Dorraugh's bosses were in the audience today to support his graduation. They say he is a model employee and have even given Dorraugh more responsibility with a promotion to shift lead.
Dorraugh's story does not just hit home in Evansville. He is inspiring legislation to create programs to help other recovered addicts find good jobs.
When Indiana Senator Todd Young was in Evansville a couple of weeks ago, John's boss at Trivalence showed our original story to the Senator. Now, Senator Young is taking the idea straight to the White House.
"We want to replicate this model across the state of Indiana and really across the country, so informed by the experience in Evansville as well as similar conversations in other areas around the state, we'll be introducing legislation this week that will create a pilot program to ensure that those who have addiction issues are connected to good employment opportunities out in the community," says Senator Young.
Senator Young just introduced the Jobs Plus Recovery Act Tuesday. The bill is a part of the Senator's Fair Shot Agenda initiative.