FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Joint Allen County Veterans Court of the Allen Circuit and Superior Courts held a graduation on Friday to celebrate 16 veterans who have completed their intensive program.
“I see firsthand veterans in legal troubles based on addiction, combat PTSD, and other mental health issues,” said Wendy W. Davis, Allen County Circuit Court Judge. “I want to ensure the Court system rallies around them fairly to provide the proper support, treatment, and accountability to get them back on their feet. I am proud of my Veterans Circuit Court team that truly ‘cares for those who have borne the battle’ for our Country.”
The program is designed to connect veterans suffering from substance abuse and/or metal health disorders with the benefits and treatment they earned as a result of their service, the Allen County Community Corrections said. Veterans in the program are mentored, held accountable and build a support system.
“The veterans go through so many traumatic events and as a military member, we’re generally trained to just suck it up and drive on, rub some dirt on it, keep moving on. So, when you come back into the civilian world, it’s difficult for folks to really understand what’s going through your brain… we owe it to them because of their service to give them that extra time and effort and resources so they can turn their lives around and get back on track,” sad Douglas Fahl, Lt. Colonel in the Indiana National Guard and Indiana’s Military Judge.
For many of the graduates, this ceremony marks a milestone in a journey to help improve themselves and their lives.
“It’s another goal completed. It’s another objective accomplished. It’s another big step in my life to move in a direction that I want to go. It’s an amazing feeling, a freeing feeling for sure,” said Darius Thomas, graduate and Army Veteran.
“It’s cool to have someone watching over you. So, I guess I’m looking forward to seeing how I blossom because now I have to do it on my own in a sense,” said Eco Smith, graduate.
For more information on the program, visit the Allen County Circuit Court’s website.