Judge William Brewer’s gift for witty repartee is a powerful tool for running his courtroom with clockwork precision, but he looked more like a worried father as he offered two women a gift on Wednesday.
“You are on the road to nowhere, and it is a one-way destination,” Brewer said. “It’s death. It doesn’t matter whether it’s today, next week, next month or next year.”
Lindsey Nipper, 20, and Bethany Bills, 23, chose life when they accepted scholarships to Cornerstone of Recovery, which provides a variety of addiction treatment programs.
“Thank you,” they said quietly.
The awards were presented by the center’s extended care counselor, Pamela Spindel, and marketing content developer Steve Wildsmith.
Spindel said the center began providing the scholarships about seven years ago after she asked to assist inmates who couldn’t afford rehabilitative care.
Prospective recipients can’t have a prior history of attending a treatment program, insurance or other means to pay for care, Spindel explained.
They also can’t be facing violent felony charges.
“We usually do this at Christmas,” Spindel said. “This year we had to do it at Easter. This is the first time that we’ve had two women. We couldn’t find two men that fit the criteria because there are more opportunities for treatment for them.”
The women also were among the youngest recipients, Spindel added.
Brewer expressed his hopes that they would achieve success like Spindel, who also assists with a 12-step program for inmates.
“I had her 19 times in front of me in this courtroom,” Brewer said. “I didn’t see her again and I thought she was dead. It turned out she had gotten sober.”
Brewer recently presented Spindel with her 10-year sobriety chip. She also was pardoned in January, he added.
“Most importantly, she’s alive,” Brewer said.
“That man saved my life as much as I hated him then,” Spindel said with a grin.