Doug Ghan: A drug suspects best hope

March 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
When a suspect has to face a judge at the Fresno County courthouse on drug charges, his best hope just might be a man named Doug Ghan.

Ghan volunteers countless hours every week helping young men and fathers get their lives on track.

On any given day, in any given courtroom, you might see Doug Ghan sitting in the gallery with a family. Or hanging out in the hallway talking to a mom. Or chatting with attorneys, whether its prosecutors or defenders. But Doug hangs out at the courthouse for just one reason.

"I've been a volunteer for 16 years now," said Ghan. "I do it because I love to do it."

Ghan began volunteering at Juvenile Hall as a chaplain. He says 70% of the kids incarcerated come from homes with no father figure.

So he began working with the dads, at the Fresno County jail and different Valley prisons. That's where he met Daniel Ramirez in 2008.

"I couldn't understand why somebody would come," said Ramirez. "Why me? Who am I? I've already been to prison. Don't you understand that I never learn? But he was there and he never gave up. He never gave up on me."

Ramirez says after 30 years of drug and alcohol use and jail stints and prison terms, Doug Ghan helped him get into a long term program.

Ghan explained, "Most of them are hooked on drugs and I think the courts are beginning to see that sending someone away that's addicted to drugs and doing crime to beat his habit, that's a revolving door."

Ramirez went to Teen Challenge, a Christian based drug and alcohol program. Today, he is clean and sober, with four grown children. He and his wife are raising their four and six year old together. He and Doug Ghan are not only friends, they now volunteer together, to help other men.


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