By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times
Cullman County District Judge Kim Chaney recently received the state wide Howell Heflin Appreciation Award following a recent nomination for his outstanding service and his dedication to the drug court program.
The award was named after the long serving U.S. Senator, and Chief Justice on the Supreme Court, Howell Heflin. The Cullman Court Referral Program nominated Chaney, while several of Chaney’s program participants also wrote letters of support for him.
“It was his [Howell Heflin’s] vision and leadership that made the Alabama Court system one of the first in the nation to be a Unified Court System, a system we still are working under today, but why they chose me is still beyond me,” Chaney said. “I am flattered and humbled to be selected to be nominated for this award.”
Cullman Court Referral program’s Cindy Keller said they nominated Chaney because of his hard work with the drug court program.
“He is very dedicated to drug court and he works with people who are affected by drugs and alcohol to help them change their lives,” Keller said. “He is very deserving of this award.”
A humbled Chaney said he thought there were others who could have also received the award, but the honor represented a successful team effort among many in the Cullman County Courthouse.
“I am sure there are many other more deserving judges across the state that probably would have been a better choice, but I do not see this as a personal award,” Chaney said. “If I am able to do my job well it is only because I am surrounded by a lot of good people doing their jobs well. A well run court system is truly a team effort. Judges are literally the tip of the iceberg because there is a tremendous amount of work done before the case comes to court.”
Chaney said Cullman County is fortunate to have an excellent court system available and so many who support it.
“I have the pleasure of working with Judge Turner, Judge Nicholas and Judge Williams, all of whom do an outstanding job,” Chaney said. “We have one of the best court referral offices in the state that help us with drug and alcohol cases. We all work with exceptional community corrections and drug court programs. Local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office all do an excellent job and are involved in every criminal case that comes before the court. Circuit Clerk Lisa McSwain and her staff do a great job maintaining all our records and court files.”
Chaney said he wants the Cullman community to continue be a family-oriented, safe community and he is thankful to be a part of it.
“I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to serve the people of Cullman County and I would like to thank everyone for all their support and prayers as we continue to strive to help individuals that come to court, and work to ensure that Cullman remains a safe place to live and raise our families,” Chaney said. “I am very honored to have been selected for this award and would like to thank the State of Alabama Court Referral Programs.”
Lauren Estes can be reached at email@example.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.