I learned the adage “Leave No One Behind” as a young man in the US Army serving in Vietnam. This morning, I had the honor of speaking at the Veterans Treatment Court’s (VTC) graduation – and this is exactly what this Court does – bringing our veterans in trouble with the law into the light and helping them change the direction of their lives.
Six men graduated today from VTC – a good number of them young and having served quite recently in Iraq and Afghanistan – all of them suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse when they entered this program.
Judge John Grandsaert (who is a US Army veteran) envisioned this special court to help veterans 6 years ago, partnering with the Private Defender Program, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Probation Department. The goal is to improve outcomes for Veterans by connecting them to needed services, such as mental health treatment and therapy, substance abuse counseling, healthcare, job training and employment, and housing assistance. Upon graduation from VTC participants may be eligible to have their fines reduced, have probation terminated early and/or have their conviction expunged/dismissed.
Congratulations to S. Brown, P. Chrystal, K. Comps, A. Houchen, A. Jaime and J. Kellam on the hard work each of you did to complete this program. We are all so very proud of you!