Man rides to recovery

Matthew Weaver, a participant in the Troup County DUI/Drug Court program, stands with a bicycle that a fellow participant gave him. Weaver uses the bicycle to get to his required meetings and court dates since he doesn’t have a driver’s license.

LaGRANGE — When Matthew Weaver was sentenced into Troup County’s DUI/Drug Court program, he wondered how he would meet all of the program’s requirements without a driver’s license.

“It’s been tough, especially in this heat,” admitted Weaver, who has been riding a bicycle to his treatment groups and court hearings for the past six months.

Two weeks ago another participant in the program surprised Weaver by presenting him with a new bicycle at the end of a counseling group session.

A sign on the bicycle encouraged Weaver: “Keep riding your way to recovery!”

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Weaver. “I was like a 2-year-old kid on Christmas morning.”

Julie Zwilling, who gave the bicycle to Weaver, said she noticed that he desperately needed a new bike.

“He couldn’t even sit down on (his old bicycle) because the chain would pop off,” said Zwilling.

Zwilling asked her Facebook friends for help, and someone soon donated the bicycle.

“It’s all about helping people,” Zwilling said. “Matthew has an 8-month-old son, and we can all see how hard he’s working on his recovery.”

Weaver may soon get even more help with transportation. Last week the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council awarded a transportation grant of $16,500 to accountability courts in Troup County.

“We plan to use the grant funds to purchase vouchers from a local taxi cab company,” said Scott Smith, coordinator of the DUI/Drug Court. “The vouchers will be reserved for participants with an extreme need for transportation assistance, and they can only be used for round-trips to treatment or the courthouse.”

Next week Smith will ask the Troup County Board of Commissioners to accept the transportation grant award. If they accept it, then local cab companies will have an opportunity to bid on the project.

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