Sunday, December 10, 2017

Veterans Court Got PTSD Veteran Help He Needed

Aurora man says new vet court connected him ‘with the right people’

Chicago Sun Times
Jon Seidel
December 10, 2017

One of the many times Juan Morales fought in Afghanistan, he carried a wounded soldier to safety amid an enemy ambush.

Juan Morales, left, a graduate from the Veterans Treatment Court, receives a certificate from Joe Butler of the John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic. | Provided photo
“It was a pretty big attack,” the 33-year-old Aurora man said. But it was just one of many. He said he found himself in battle nearly every day for four months while a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Morales became a team leader before returning home with the “knee of a 70-year-old” and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Then his troubles were nearly compounded when, while receiving treatment at Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital, he said he was caught on the grounds of the federal facility last spring with a knife he forgot to leave at home.
That oversight helped land him in front of a federal judge — a daunting moment for anyone. But months later, Morales became one of the first six graduates of the Northern District of Illinois’ Veterans Treatment Court, which aims to help veterans charged with federal misdemeanors get the help they need.
“They got me in touch with the right people,” Morales said.