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Marion County Stories

Missy of Marion

Melissa "Missy"

God gives you the opportunity to touch lives in many meaningful ways. I feel that is what happened to me when I became Recovery Court Judge of the 12th Judicial District. Many don’t truly understand what our recovery court does—I know I didn’t until I became involved. We praise people for being successful, and we pick them up when they fall. At the end of the day, though, we hold them accountable for the choices they make.

When people apply to be part of the Recovery Court, I look in their eyes during their intake interview and first court appearance. They are tired. They are scared. They are afraid of dying because of their addiction.

During my tenure, I’ve seen successes, and I’ve seen sadness. My favorite parts of Recovery Court are the life stories of our participants. Most recently, a middle-aged man stood in front of me with tears in his eyes and said his father finally looked at him without disappointment in his eyes. That’s powerful.

Addiction is a life-long battle. Please don’t give up because we won’t give up on you.  



Everyone always hears the negative stuff about the disease of addiction
so that’s a story which has already been told. Here is a story I want others to
hear. I have a great business career. I have an unbelievable three-year-old
son. I married the most beautiful girl in the world, and we are now awaiting
the arrival of our second little boy. Tell that to the people who say there is
no hope! 

Kim Olinger of Marion County


On December 28, 2015, my youngest son, John Michael and I took a photo. Just before it was taken he said, “Mom, I am turning 29 on the 29th! This is going to be my golden year!” He’d had some really tough years and for the first time he was looking forward to the future. March 3, 2016, just six days later, I received the call. My son was in the emergency room with an overdose. I arrived to hear the doctors say, “We did all we could do. We have X-rayed your son’s heart, and it is no longer beating.” Heroin. When I was able to stop screaming and able to walk, I was led in to see my baby’s body one last time. As I stood over him in disbelief, I realized my blue-eyed baby boy was gone from this world forever. That day my family’s footprint on this world changed forever. I now live in two different worlds. Sometimes I can hardly breathe. The infinite number of days until I see him again is sometimes unbearable. Until then, I will help others live.