|The Montgomery County Courthouse/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
Immediately after receiving the award, O'Neill dashed to preside over a Friday session of the weekly treatment court. A humbled O'Neill shared the honor with the counselors, probation officials, prosecutors and defense lawyers who work in the trenches of the program and said the honor was a testament to all of their hard work. O'Neill was congratulated by about two dozen of the current participants of the program.
|Montgomery Bar Foundation President Steven Lupin (left) presents Judge Steven T.O'Neill with public service award. /Photo courtesy Montgomery Bar Association|
Last year, The Mercury, as part of a four-part series on the danger of heroin addiction, examined the drug treatment court. I spent many days observing the court and interviewing those dedicated to saving lives and some of the former addicts who were on their way to getting clean. The drug court graduations were highly emotional, complete with tears of joy as the graduates praised their probation officers and counselors for saving their lives. With hugs and high-fives, it was clear who the graduates loved and admired - Judge O'Neill.
|Montco Judge Steven T. O'Neill/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
I couldn't think of a better candidate, or more deserving person, to receive the distinguished service award. Congratulations, Judge O'Neill, for providing exceptional service in support of the justice system.
|O'Neill's Gavel of Truth/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr./The Mercury|