Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Missoula opens program to help veterans in trouble

This piece of data is one of the biggest reasons there needs to be programs like this across the country.

"And veterans as a group are far more likely than the general population to run into trouble with the law. Statistics show that 95 percent of enlisted personnel have had no problems with the law when they join the military, said Robin Korogi, director of Montana Veterans Health Care Systems in Helena. But that drops to 40 percent after their return from combat."

These men and women didn't put themselves first when they enlisted. They did not put themselves first when they deployed into combat. They put their brothers and sisters first. While the rest of us did whatever, whenever, for the sake of our own lives, they were willing to die for their friends, endure any hardship, be torn away from their parents, spouse, kids and friends back home and once back home, they changed. When smart people read about one of them in trouble all of a sudden after a lifetime of honor, they understand there is a lot more going on than one of them deciding to commit crimes.

Missoula opens state's 1st program to help veterans with legal problems
By JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian
Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011

Wars take lives and limbs, but they also steal the senses of peace, purpose and meaning for those who fight them.

Recognizing that substance abuse and mental illness are often the unseen byproducts of warfare, Missoulians on Monday launched the Veterans Treatment Track program - which shepherds veterans through whatever legal problems they run into after they come home.

"Knowing there are places like Missoula, Montana, that will put its arms around them is very comforting for veterans," said Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, one of numerous politicians and professionals who welcomed the new program in a ceremony at the Missoula County Courthouse.

Veterans who run into problems with the law through their behavior or through drug or alcohol abuse can now go through the program, which helps them find counseling and treatment instead of merely seeking punishment.

It is the only such program in Montana, and is modeled after a veterans court established in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2008.

Montana has the second-highest veteran population per capita in the nation - more than 100,000, or roughly one in nine people.

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Missoula opens states 1st program to help veterans