FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen Superior and Circuit Court graduated veterans from the Veteran Treatment Court program. The program combines rigorous treatment and accountability.
One of the veterans WANE 15 spoke with today says the graduation isn’t just the “dog and pony show” or trophies, it’s about being recognized for making it through the program.
“I was very bitter, never was one of those to drink, never did drugs before or anything like that, but I was just mad at the world,” says Christopher Thomas, a graduate of Veterans Treatment Court.
Thomas says his actions after his dad was killed by police officers landed him in jail. He had previously never heard of the Veterans Court before, but asked to be part of it after seeing something similar.
“I shut down and never really talked to anyone about it. The Veterans Court helped me, you know, to talk to someone about it and open up. And it’s like a big lift off my shoulder to where I didn’t have to do whatever else I did,” says Thomas.
Thomas, along with 16 other veterans spent the last year going through treatment. Veterans in the program were facing charges from substance abuse and/or mental health issues.
“They say, “Hey, you can go there, you can go here.” And before you know it, you know, you’re living positive and you don’t have to drink or whatever the case may be.”
The program expedites access to veteran-specific resources, like benefits and treatment. Thomas says before this program he would have stayed anonymous about his issues.
“You know, but I’d rather get on TV and let people know, the world that there is good people in the world that care about helping you stay sober and helping you get mental health, helping you get financial help and all of the above.”
To learn more about the program, click here.