Saturday, January 14, 2017

Miami Dade Veterans Court Helping Veterans Bypass Bars

New veterans court opens in Miami Dade
Miami Herald
David Ovalle
January 13, 2017
“This program will help a lot of other veterans, I was just one of the first,” said Lovette, who is now sober and studying engineering at Miami Dade College.
Presentation of the colors by a joint honor guard from Southenn Command during opening ceremony for Miami's new veteran court at the Miami Dade criminal court on Friday, January 13, 2017
Robert Koltun

Former U.S. Army soldier Elliot Lovette can trace his mental breakdowns — years of flashbacks, panic attacks and hallucinations — to the day a roadside bomb in 2004 ripped apart his Humvee during a patrol in Iraq.

Struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and drugs eventually landed him in a Miami jail, charged with fighting a police officer during a breakdown in October 2015.

But Lovette got back on track when he entered a fledgling program designed to help Miami-Dade’s large veteran population, hooking them up with specialized treatment, substance abuse rehab and even mentoring from fellow former members of the military.

Earlier this month, Miami-Dade prosecutors officially dropped the charges against the 35-year-old after he completed the yearlong program.

On Friday, Lovette celebrated the occasion on a grander stage, joined by judges, lawyers, mental-health professionals and the head of Miami’s Veterans Affairs healthcare office as they officially marked the formal creation of a Miami-Dade veterans court.
read more here