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New beginnings: Antill celebrates 374 days sober

For his final project in Drug Court, he raised funds for veterans

Photo submitted A car wash was held May 1 as Joe Antill’s final project for Compass Drug Court. The car wash, held at the VFW Ronnie W. Davis Memorial Post 5108 in Marietta, raised more than twice what Antill expected.

At a glance:

¯ Joe Antill graduated from Compass Drug Court on Monday.

¯ He noted he has been 374 days sober.

¯ As his final project, he held a car wash to help veterans.

Source: Compass Drug Court.

Joe Antill graduated from Compass Drug Court on Monday with a special milestone — 374 days of sobriety.

“You made it a year. That’s awesome!” said Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi.

The Compass Drug Court has been held virtually since early last year although it still recognizes those who finish the program. It takes a minimum of 14 months to complete the program.

“It took me a time or two to make it,” Antill said. “I started off good, but in the middle, I had a rough patch. I’m way better off than I was.”

He shared a little of his background, stating at one time, he was “homeless on the side of the street.”

“Now I have a home to go to, money in my pocket and a job,” he said proudly.

As drug court participants near the finish of the program, they are to do a community project. Antill’s project was to raise money for the VFW Ronnie W. Davis Memorial Post 5108 in Marietta.

Robert Fitzgerald, executive director for the Washington County Veterans Service Commission, said Antill only expected to raise $500, but raised about $1,400.

“The whole thing was to do something positive for the veterans and give back to the community,” explained Fitzgerald.

The idea was to give free car washes to veterans and ask for small donations from non-veterans. Fitzgerald said everyone who got their car washed that day gave a donation, including the veterans.

Antill said he didn’t do the project all on his own.

“I learned to take the resources you are given and you can do a great thing,” he said. “I’m surprised everyone came together for me.”

Carla Archer, Compass program coordinator, said she was exceptionally proud of the work Antill has done.

“Don’t let anything get in your way,” Archer told Antill. “Keep your head up and keep doing what you are doing.”

Attending Monday’s drug court was Eric Brockmeier, Oriana House program manager for correctional programs, and Ray Smith, lead public defender.

“I saw some extreme problem solving skills, especially with a big project,” Brockmeier said.

“If helping others is your call, then by God, do it,” Smith said to Antill.

Kerenyi said one of the cool things about drug court was participants could tell people about their journey, then reach out and help others. He said he was proud of Antill and the success of his car wash.

“With your project, you’ve kind of set the standard for everyone else,” said Kerenyi.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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