May 17 2019

Letter To The Editor: A Veteran’s Affairs Soldier In Need

The young man volunteered for The Armed Services of the United States. In his case, Army. He had his reasons, like adventure, “Be All That You Can Be,” and not really knowing what else he wanted to do.

So, he served his country. Went to war in the Middle East and became a good soldier. In fact, a damn good soldier. But there was the daily stress of someone trying to kill him. A sniper. A roadside bomb. A suicide bomber. And it took its toll on him.

He finally came home…physically in one piece but not the same man he had been before in many ways. Mentally, he was pretty strung out, “wound tight”, nerves on edge. He couldn’t relate to the sameness of an every day routine. He found jobs…lots of them, but it was hard to tolerate “civilians.”

Likewise, he couldn’t relate to his family nor they to him any longer and he found himself living in shelters or churches or wherever he could get out of the rain and the cold. And he found drugs and petty larceny to afford the drugs, and physical attacks on people who annoyed him. And he wound up in court…which is the good news. With the new Veterans Treatment Court it didn’t mean he was automatically headed for jail.

Newly established under the Charleston County Probate Court, the Veterans Treatment Court is voluntary for “Adults with prior military service…who have been charged with one or more criminal offenses in Charleston County….who are struggling with addiction, mental illness and/or trauma-related disorders such as PTSD.”

As Alcoholics Anonymous relies on sponsorship, the court relies on Veteran Mentors…“Veterans or qualified active duty personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces who volunteer their time to assist the court.” The Island Eye reaches many Veterans on Sullivan’s Island, the Isle Of Palms and Mount Pleasant, so this call is just for you. And, it doesn’t get into all the details that you’ll find at departments/probate/veterans-treatment-court or by contacting the Veterans Treatment Court coordinator at 843.958.5186.

 Maybe you’re not through serving, or maybe you know a veteran who needs help.

Jim Thompson

IOP Exchange Club

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