Fourth Lewis County Drug Court ‘One Step At A Time, Recovery’ Fun Run Undeterred by Thunderstorm


When the Lewis County Drug Court Foundation and Alumni Association said runners participating in the fourth annual “One Step At A Time, Recovery” 5K fun run would stay the course Monday, rain or shine, they meant it. 

The afternoon’s 90-degree heat gave way to cooler weather and storm clouds shortly after about 50 runners and walkers began the 5K route through Stan Hedwall Park in Chehalis on May 15. The flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder were ominous enough to postpone some local softball games that evening, but not the 5K. 

“The vibes are good. Everybody’s really excited,” Lewis County Drug Court alumni and volunteer Caitlin Rogers said of the event on Monday. 

The 5K’s primary goal is to raise awareness for Lewis County Drug Court, a voluntary three-phase program for addicts charged with a felony who have a poor prognosis for success on their own. 

Registration for the 5K was open not just to drug court participants and alumni, but to their friends, family and community members as well. 

“I really feel like this is a good opportunity for the participants and community to intermix and get together to celebrate not only the program, but the people who have worked hard in the program,” Rogers said. 

Drug court lasts a minimum of 16 months with most participants graduating after 19 to 22 months.

To graduate, a drug court participant must have a full-time job and stable housing, complete recommended treatment, be clean for at least six months and in the program for at least 16 months, have a sober mentor, and pay any court-ordered fines and restitution stemming from their case. 

Once a person graduates, their charges are dismissed.

When asked if he wanted to include a quote in The Chronicle’s article on the 5K, Aaron Neldon, who graduated from the adjacent Lewis County Superior Court Mental Health Court program said, “It’s from Dr. Seuss. ‘You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose.’ … I’m the captain of my ship, I can steer myself any direction I choose and I’ve finally chosen a good direction to steer it.” 

Like Lewis County Drug Court, the Lewis County Superior Court Mental Health Court program gives certain defendants an opportunity to have their felony charges dismissed if they successfully complete the program.