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"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Letter of Commendation from a Grateful Parent
Posted by:Sally--Monday, March 22, 2010

Here is a letter from just one of the many parents who is so thankful to have found the help and dedication she needed from Kathie of Wesley Spectrum, Val & Lloyd of PSST and Lynn from Act 53. We will call her "Ethel" and her daughter "Lucy". (Click play button on black scree to view video.)

From: Ethel PSST Parent
To: Judge Kim Eaton Subject: A heartfelt thanks, Kim
Date: Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:58 Pm
Attachments: Numerous pictures of Lucy at Graduation and in Navy uniform.

Hi Kim, I hope this can be one of the success stories that make the sometimes-depressing job of presiding over Family Court worth it.

Permit me to thank you. And share. And gloat a little (as a mom).

Lucy graduated Navy Boot Camp a week ago. Had I known the Navy would do in 8 weeks that which I could not do in 18 years, I would have relaxed a little more over all those years. LOL.

Please count us as a “success story.” That never would have happened without so many wonderful people in the Allegheny County Court system.

It was a rough, difficult 16 (or so)years.

You were the first one- who took me on as a client, who believed in my story. And then gave me an affordable way to do this. I never heard an attorney say, “You know this system by now and can handle it on your own. You don’t need to rack up more attorney fees.” Very grateful for that.

Then Lynn Redick from Act 53: Years later, when the fall-out of our divorce really set in, and Lucy went off the deep end; she saved our lives.

Lloyd Woodward, Juvenile Probation Officer extraordinaire. His Boss Val Ketter- they saved our lives. They started the Parent Survival Skills Training (PSST).

And especially Kathie Tagmyer (family therapist) from Wesley Spectrum. There are no words to express my (and Lucy’s) gratitude for how she has helped. She is now working closely with Lloyd and Val with PSST.

All four of them have gone above and beyond the call of duty for me and so many other parents and their children. If there is any award they can be nominated for or more importantly, any funding PSST can receive to help them do their wonderful work, please let me know. I would go to any length to see that they are recognized for what they do. I could also muster dozens of other parents to do the same.

All of you brought this family through some dark days.

Now for the good part: Lucy graduated Navy Boot Camp last week. She is firmly and happily ensconced in Gulfport MS training to be a Seabee. She is a sailor through and through. It is astounding to me that only 2 years ago; this was the daughter who would put cigarettes out in her palm to see if she was drunk enough.

I have always believed a picture is worth a thousand words. I am attaching 2: one before and one after. The first is the day she is leaving for Boot Camp. The second is Navy Boot Camp graduation day. I wish I had a photo from the really dark days- pre Act 53 and rehab. It was much much worse.

You, Lynn, Kathie, Lloyd, and Val will always be carried in my heart. If there is ANYTHING I can do to repay this gift, let me know.

BTW, Lucy’s father also came to her graduation. He was actually tolerable. Without Kathie’s intervention, I don’t think he could have been there for her.



Sally said...

Our son, Cisco, has changed tremendously in the last ten months and I know it is due to the commitment of the PSST/Wesley Spectrum TEAM.
Val and Lloyd and Kathy C. and Kathie T. have guided us through the worse times I have ever experienced in my life. We still have a way to go, never the less, they deserve to be commended for their extensive efforts.

Lloyd Woodward said...

Thanks Ethel, for this beautifully crafted and heart-felt letter. It is a terrific way to support PSST and to "give back" to the people who offered help.

Of course, Lucy is the one who ultimately took advantage of the opportunities and turned her life around. And most importantly, YOU orchestrated all of us in the "system."

You were working to keep Lucy alive and to help her find opportunities. You were the conductor; you patiently worked with all of us in the music pit to provide that special melody. And that includes the High School where you were on a first-name basis with several school officials as you monitored Lucy’s progress very closely.

There were many moments when our melody went flat, off tune, or out-of-rhythm, but you kept us playing through it all.

Then, near the end of the song you single-handedly stunned Lucy by showing her the door. It was a hard thing to do- but it provided her last couple of lessons: life with Dad followed by her case closing and then life on the street (or with friends.)

Then when she wanted to come back home you had a contract ready. Lucy had to agree before she could move back in with you.

No one could have done this except for you. It was risky as these things always are, but you knew that Lucy was at great risk no matter what path you choose. You considered the stakes and you were prepared to do whatever you had to do to try and reach Lucy.

I am so happy that it paid off for you and for Lucy. I wish I could say, "Yeah, this is what we expected and we knew she would turn it around." I know you would easily see that for the lie it would be.

Out of all the people who went above and beyond to provide Lucy with the opportunity to change her life you are by far the one at the top of the list. Sure, we were all glad to play at our part. But I don't think you realize how much this all was your big effort from before you walked into our little PSST group in Wilkinsburg, till Lucy's graduation from Navy Boot Camp.

You were just being smart when you put all of us on your team. :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome story of hope! We as parents work with this dedicated team of professionals and hopefully buy our kids some clean time so they can think about making good choices in life. Your daughter did and mom should also be recognized for all her hard work! Having these wonderful people to walk down this path with us and guide us is powerful! When things get tough the tough get tougher due to the support of all involved with PSST! Congratulations--You're in the Navy now! So happy for your family! Best Wishes-Debby


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