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      Ottumwa celebrates National Drug Court Month

      Celebration of National Drug Court Month in Ottumwa.

      The recognition of National Drug Court Month in Ottumwa culminated in Central Park Monday with a program that celebrated sobriety and success.

      Current Drug Court participants and recent graduates, as well as Family Drug Court Judge Bill Owens and Adult Drug Court Judge Kirk Daily, gathered to recognize how hard the program works to keep families and lives together.

      Ottumwa Mayor Frank Flanders and Iowa State Representative Mary Gaskill were both on hand to deliver speeches, and one special ceremony was held for a graduate of Family Court.

      "It's a pretty big deal, I'm [up there] on stage... kind of nerve-wracking," said program graduate Jennifer Gatlin. "But it doesn't mean the end for me, because I'm going to keep these people in my life and keep working the program and helping others like I was helped."

      Gatlin said the support that the program offers was of tremendous help to her, and she encourages anyone just entering or currently in the program to take advantages of the different programs and resources Drug Court is able to put people in touch with.

      The celebration Monday also recognized the participants of Family Drug Court's Kid's Program, where kids learn how to say no to drugs.

      Participants and graduates could also write the number of months or years they have been sober on a balloon, and release them to the skies.