On Tuesday, August 25, Chestnut Grove UMC hosted the Southeast Madison County Meth Awareness/Educational Forum.
The Partnership for a Drug Free Community, under the leadership of Deborah Soule, wife of the pastor of Chestnut Grove, put the program together as a way of helping our neighbors deal with a growing problem in their midst. More than 100 people filled the Family Life Center to hear a panel of leaders share their expertise and to ask questions.
The panelists included Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning; Dewayne McCarver, Commander of the STAC Team; Kay Miller, Supervisor of Child Neglect/Abuse with the Department of Human Resources; and Gina Koger of the Mental Health Center of Madison County. Jackie Wolfe, Director of Alternative Sentencing and Release ably moderated the panel. Other speakers included County Commissioner Jerry Craig and other law enforcement and emergency response personnel.
The purpose of the forum was to educate and raise awareness, but those who were interested were asked to sign up to help form a coalition to help address the problem of meth in our communities. A cross section of people from local government, schools and churches volunteered to become part of this coalition. As a direct result of the contacts made, a program has already been established for ninth graders at New Hope High School.
To make the night a success, many members of Chestnut Grove UMC contributed their services, including several ladies from the church who provided cookies.
Although the program had been in the works for months, it appeared particularly timely as two meth busts were carried out within a week of the forum at locations within five miles of the church.