About Us

In December 1998, members of the Blount County, Tenn., judicial system launched the Blount County Drug Court program, the goal of which is to promote public safety by reducing the number of crimes committed by repeat non-violent offenders who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

At the time, the concept was a radical one; in the years since, numerous counties across the state have started their own drug court programs, many of them modeled after the one that began in Blount County. Overseen by then-Circuit Court Judge D. Kelly Thomas, the program was a joint effort of the district attorney general, the public defender and the Blount County Sheriff’s office, all of whom marshaled resources to provide intensive outpatient treatment, vocational counseling and referral to area treatment and recovery programs.

From the outset, finances posed the main challenge. Seed money came from an initial federal implementation grant, but since 2002, the program has faced periodic funding shortfalls. County and municipal governments rose to the occasion to meet those funding needs when they could, but by 2008, budget cuts meant the loss of the program’s director position. Newly elected Circuit Court Judge David Duggan pushed for restored funding for that position, however, and in 2010, current Program Director Amy Galyon was appointed.

Today, the Blount County Drug Court program continues to provide a valuable service to the community, but its reliance on local monies and state and federal grants means that its continued existence is contingent on the state of the economy. In early 2012, concerned citizens who recognize the program’s positive impact on the community as a way to reduce recidivism and provide those struggling with addiction a way to become responsible, productive members of society came together for the purpose of supporting it.

The Blount County Drug Court Foundation seeks to increase community awareness of the program’s goals and achievements, as well as the vital need for its continued existence. It is the belief of foundation board members that money invested in Blount County Drug Court saves taxpayer dollars on prosecution and incarceration, as well as providing a new way of life for many who were once trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction.

Members of the Blount County Drug Court Foundation include:

  • Webster Bailey (president):Director of New Business Development at Cornerstone of Recovery.
  • Ryan Desmond (vice president): Blount County Assistant District Attorney; chair of the Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team.
  • Tammy Ferguson (secretary/treasurer): Branch Manager and Bank Officer for US Bank with 20 years experience as a banking Branch Manager in Blount County. Currently serving on the advisory board for the Blount County Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service, a non-profit organization, working to help seniors remain at home and independent avoiding assisted living for a longer period of time.
  • Jeff French: Deputy Chief for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, where he has served since 1996.
  • Jenny Hutto: Employee Relations Director, Ruby Tuesday, Inc.; member of Maryville First United Methodist Church; past board member for the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley and Blount County Literacy Council; and various other civic groups and the United Methodist Church endeavors in Blount County.
  • Jessica Stith Belitz: Project Manager at the Blount Memorial Foundation and Community Outreach, managing the Drug Free Communities federal grant and overseeing the activities of the Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team. She is a certified in Tennessee as a prevention specialist, Level II. She serves on the Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee board of directors, and is a volunteer in public relations at the Alcoa Police Department. Belitz graduated from Leadership Blount in 2012 and East Tennessee Leadership Association in 2013.
  • Karla Sells-Gourley: Licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker, Wallace & Wallace; 2010 graduate of the Blount County Drug Court program; and lifelong resident of Blount County.
  • Randy Cruze: Chaplain for the Blount County Detention Facility.
  • Mary Caylor: Victim Witness Coordinator for the Blount County District Attorney General’s Office; member of the Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team.
  • Marty Millsaps: Digital Marketing Consultant for WBIR-TV10; serves on the Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee board of directors.
  • Lisa Gibson: CFSP, Vice President and Licensed Funeral Director for Smith Funeral and Cremation Service.
  • Rick Carver: Blount County commissioner and respiratory therapist at East Tennessee Medical Group.
  • Greg Roach: Principal at Maryville High School.