Five individuals were recently recognized for making changes to their lives while on probation.
The Hamilton County Courts’ Dept. of Probation Services held its annual Wall of Change celebration Nov. 16 in the jury assembly room at the Hamilton County Judicial and Government Center Building in Noblesville.
“A lot of people hear about probation when someone has violated their terms,” said Paul McGriff, assistant director of the Dept. of Probation Services. “But the vast majority of people complete probation and there are many making big, difficult changes to better their lives and their community. Their accomplishments deserve to be celebrated.”
Among the individuals who were honored include Rob Bartlett and Garrett Steele, officials said. Steele started using drugs when he was 14 and a freshman at Noblesville High School.
Steele has spent his entire adult life in and out of prison and living on the streets and has racked up 16 felony convictions, all of which are related to drugs and alcohol, officials said. He is now sober and teaching others about the dangers of addiction.
“A lot of people end up in the system and don’t get the help they need,” Steele said. “Addiction is more than just a physical disorder. It’s also in the heart.”
Steele also offered some advice for the public.
“So, if you ever see someone suffering, extend a hand. Listen to them. Love on them,” he said. “That may be all the motivation they need to start turning their lives around.”
Heather Grinstead, a probation officer who nominated Garrett for the Wall of Change, said she has seen him succeed in his career as a car salesman and find a passion for ministry while on probation.
“He is committed to maintaining his sobriety long-term and is motivated to strengthen his personal relationships and offer a hand up to those who need it,” Grinstead said.
Twelve individuals have now received the Wall of Change award. Those who are awarded with the honor have a plaque hanging in the lobby of the Dept. of Probation Services, officials said.
“At least two of this year’s award recipients mentioned seeing the Wall of Change and wanting to be on it someday,” McGriff said. “When we started the program, we really just wanted to honor those who made the 180-degree change in their lives. So, it’s really cool to find out now that those plaques are inspiring others to make the change.”