Jul. 8—EBENSBURG, Pa. — Thirty-seven probationers who have successfully completed the reentry program graduated through a transition ceremony Friday at the Cambria County Reentry Service Center.
The ceremony was hosted by Cambria County Probation Services and GEO Reentry Services.
The Cambria County Reentry Service Center opened in 2012 to reduce the prison population and address chronic recidivism.
GEO Reentry Services offers cognitive behavioral classes to help participants work on communication skills, problem-solving, decision making, anger management, employment skills and more.
President Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III, who served as the speaker for the ceremony, told the graduates that no matter who they are, everyone faces different types of challenges but what matters is how one handles those challenges.
"I think when it comes to substance abuse and things like that come, some of the greatest challenges, and I just want to say to you that your success shows you the ability to have some self discipline, make critical decisions that will move you forward, help you deal with your tragedies and challenges, and move you on is bigger and better," he said, "because by accepting responsibility for things that happen to all of us, the challenges from time to time, and life is always challenging whether you're 10 or 110."
Justin Hovanec said that when he was first sentenced to the DRC, he didn't want to attend after what he heard from other attendees but said he was glad that he had participated.
"Clearly, they didn't want to succeed, because we're all sitting here," he said. "Because we put the time and we put the effort in and we want it to change in one way or another. So that's why we're all here today and anybody else that didn't complete the program for whatever reason or another, I really do wish them the best because we have the whole rest of our lives ahead of us, however long that may be."
Fellow graduate Tess Bradley said that she came to the program with a background in mental health and drug and alcohol and was proof anyone could be impacted by drugs or alcohol.
She had back-to-back DUI charges in 2019 and had the DRC added onto her sentence. Bradley said she first blamed her attorney but later began to take the program seriously.
"It really made me think ... where I wanted to be in life and what I wanted to do," Bradley said. "I never thought that that would happen to me — but unfortunately, it did and now I see it as a blessing, you know. It's a blessing in disguise and this program really did help me to center myself and take responsibility for what I did."