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Coalition Spotlight: Meet Coalition Member, Dr. Tom Sterneman

Senior Pastor at Refuge Church Chaplain for Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office Member since 2012

Q: What was the experience or motivating factor that compelled you to join the SUP Coalition? T: The experiences that have motivated me to remain and work with this group have been the “one on one” conversations I have had as Chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office. These conversations have been with grieving parents, family members, and friends of those individuals who have lost their lives tragically through the use and misuse of legal and illegal drugs in our county. I am also motivated to do whatever I can to help people of all ages to understand that misusing substances (illegal or legal) has life altering effects. Q: In your opinion, what are you most proud of that the SUP Coalition has done or is working on? T: There are two main things that I am most proud of regarding SUP. Firstly, the acceptance and the involvement of young people on our coalition rather than just a group of adults telling others what to do and secondly, our work with our Sheriff, Joel Brott, and others to pass countywide Social Host Ordinances. These ordinances hold adults who host activities where alcohol is served on property they control to be held accountable regardless of who furnishes the alcohol. Q: What is one tip you have for parents/caring adults in terms of prevention? T: People (children, youth, adults) learn more from what they see and have modeled than what they hear or are told; “Show me how to live, don’t just tell me.” Q: What do you do in your spare time? T: I enjoy spending time with my wife Charlotte and our four young adult children. I also enjoy working in my garden, hunting, and fishing.

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