Ward speaks of personal struggles to motivate ATEF graduates
Published 2:44 pm Friday, September 4, 2015
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA–“Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness,” was the message state Sen. Cam Ward, R–Alabaster, relayed to the 17 graduates at the Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility on Friday, Sept. 4.
Ward was the featured speaker at the ceremony, where he took the time to open up about his own personal struggles, specifically referring to his arrest on July 1 on a drunken driving charge.
The ATEF opened in March 2008 and is a residential reentry center that uses tested cognitive behavioral reentry treatment and vocational training to help offenders change their criminal thinking and behaviors, according to the facility’s website.
“We’re not that different, we’re really not,” said Ward. “We can talk about being all of these great things and there’s an assumption that because I’m an elected official and I do all this great stuff and see all these great people that somehow we’re better or we have something better to offer than anybody else. We have the same thoughts and the same issues and we have the same struggles. I’m human just like you all.”
Ward said he spent more than 40 days in recovery following his arrest, and said the steps a person takes to better themselves is what matters most.
“Remember this going forward, whether you’re a state senator, a janitor, or whether you’re homeless, it doesn’t matter,” said Ward. “God puts challenges before everybody and he gives every one of us a road block ahead and how we deal with it is what matters. It doesn’t matter about the past, it’s what we do going forward.”
Ward was transparent and down-to-earth when speaking to the ATEF graduates who have also dealt with many roadblocks and obstacles in their own lives.
After the graduation ceremony, many graduates thanked Ward for speaking and told him how much they appreciated him coming and opening up.
Ward has been serving District 14 in the Alabama Senate since 2010. Before he was elected to the Senate seat, Ward served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.