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Department of State, community partners serve more than 200 local residents at Kalamazoo Road to Restoration clinic
May 16, 2023
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) joined partners in Kalamazoo on Friday for a Road to Restoration clinic, serving more than 200 Michiganders looking to understand the necessary steps to regain their driver's licenses.
More than 200 area residents stopped by the clinic at Mount Zion Baptist Church to meet with staff and volunteers to determine their pathway to reinstating their driver’s licenses, continuing a successful public-private partnership that has served more than 5,200 Michiganders throughout the state.
“This program continues to lift barriers, eliminate confusion, and meet Michiganders where they are to provide much-needed service,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “In addition to our community partners, our dedicated volunteers and staff continue to step up for their neighbors, helping them get safely back behind the wheel and back to their lives.”
In 2021, changes to state law lifted suspensions for drivers who failed to pay tickets or court fines or failed to appear in court for certain non-moving and other violations. While the new laws removed suspensions for more than 150,000 Michiganders, many must still take further action to get their driver’s license restored.
At each clinic, staff from MDOS and the Department of the Attorney General, as well as volunteer attorneys, meet one-on-one with residents to go over their driving record and what steps they must take to restore their license.
Leo Goddeyne is a Kalamazoo resident and volunteer attorney from Miller Canfield who has assisted Michiganders at more than 20 clinics since he joined the team last year.
“It’s not often that, we as lawyers, can work with somebody [where] the problem that they came in with can be absolutely solved that same day, and they walk out with a resolution,” said Goddeyne. “And that’s a really good feeling for a lawyer to have that kind of result. You’re not just pushing somebody to get them a little bit further up the road to a final result, they’re actually walking out with something in hand that solves all their problems, or close to it.”
When possible, opportunities to take immediate action in restoring privileges are provided at the clinics through MDOS or local authorities. Staff at the Kalamazoo clinic were equipped to provide vision tests, driving exams, and other services.
Scott Overkemp of Holland traveled to the Kalamazoo clinic hoping for help getting his license back after 20 years. Though he expected to receive instructions to regain his privileges eventually, MDOS staff and volunteers were able to administer the written driving test at the clinic. Overkemp went home with his driver's permit in hand.
“Everything was great,” said Overkemp. “I was really nervous about [coming] out here because I figured it would not go that great because my license was suspended indefinitely. But everybody here right away shot me right through to the next person that they needed to. I sat down with the attorneys and they walked away and I thought, ‘Oh no, here we go.' But they said, ‘No you’re good, just talk to this person right here and you’ll be good to go.' It was way better than I thought it was going to be.”
Road to Restoration clinics are made possible with support from the Michigan Department of Attorney General, DTE Energy, Miller Canfield, the Detroit Justice Center, the Michigan Association of United Ways, and Michigan 2-1-1.
The next Road to Restoration clinic will be June 21 in Detroit. Additional clinics are scheduled this year in Mount Pleasant, Alpena, Traverse City, Escanaba, Marquette, and Sault Ste. Marie.
For more information about the program, to find a clinic near you, or to sign up for an upcoming clinic, visit Michigan.gov/RoadtoRestoration or dial 2-1-1. Space may be limited, and pre-registration is strongly recommended.
The clinics don’t provide DUI/OWI expungement services and license reinstatement isn’t guaranteed.
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Holland resident Scott Overkemp (left) had his driving privileges restored after 20 years.
Volunteer attorney Leo Goddeyne of Miller Canfield has assisted Michiganders at more than 20 Road to Restoration clinics throughout the state, including at Friday's clinic in Kalamazoo.
Participants in the Kalamazoo Road to Restoration clinic were able to complete necessary steps like vision screening and completing the written driver's exam on site.
From left to right: Wendolyn Richards of Miller Canfield, Khyla Craine of MDOS, Ragan Savara from the Kalamazoo Public Library, Leo Goddeyne of Miller Canfield, and Rubina Mustafa of the Detroit Justice Center representing some of the key partners in the successful Road to Restoration program.