1st Female Veteran Graduates from Loudon County Veterans Court

August 2, 2017   Loudon, Tennessee

‘1st Female Graduate from the Loudon County Veterans Court

Loudon County, Tenn. – Loudon County Veterans Court (LCVC) held its 9th graduation ceremony Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at the Loudon County Courts Complex in the courtroom of General Sessions and Veterans Court Judge Hank Sledge. Judges Dale & Sledge and General Johnson began the Veterans Court in September 2015.  The courtroom was filled to watch this historic event for the Ninth Judicial District.

From left to right:  Loudon County Veterans Court (LCVC) Judge Hank Sledge, 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson, LCVC graduate Chelsya Thomas and Vet to Vet Tennessee Vice President and Mentor Coordinator Randall Scott.

Loudon County 13th Veteran Court graduate, Army National Guard Chelsya Thomas, told his story about how her life changed with Veterans Court. Chelsya was grateful for the LCVC and thanked LCVC, Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center Clinical Therapist Tony Weaver and Vet to Vet Tennessee (V2VT) and V2VT Mentor U.S. Army Captain (Ret) Mary Ann Tackett for their support and guidance. “This program saved my life!”

“With great joy I wish to inform you that C.T. has met her individualized treatment plan goals at Helen Ross McNabb Military Services.  C.T. enrolled in our 6 month therapy program on 23 January 2017 for alcohol abuse treatment.  Over the past 6 months she has demonstrated a keen insight into precipitants leading to former alcohol abuse and has learned the physiological and mental effects of that behavior.  Additionally, C.T. has learned and implemented skills necessary to live a life of sustained long-term recovery.  It has been my honor to walk alongside her during this brief part of her journey and I wish her nothing but continued success.”  7-12-17 Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center Therapist Tony Weaver

Loudon County 14th Veteran Court graduate, Marine Veteran William “Scott” Martin, told his story about his opportunity to cope with the support and leadership the LCVC staff, Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center Clinical Therapist John Chandler, V2VT Vice President & Mentor Randall Scott and V2VT.

From right to left: Loudon County Veterans Court (LCVC) Judge Hank Sledge, 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson, Loudon County Veterans Service Office Edward Navarro, LCVC graduate Scott Martin, Vet to Vet Tennessee Vice President & Mentor Coordinator Randall Scott. and V2VT Mentor Don Davis.

Click here to view more graduation photos.

Ed Navarro presented Chelsya and Scott with a certificate from Loudon County, Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee for their efforts. Mission Accomplished!

Also present in the courtroom was Vern Vargo, a Vietnam Army Combat Medic & one of the original 23 members of Vet to Vet Tennessee.  Vern has decades of experience with SUD and mental health issues and has offered his services to the Veterans Court.

The Global War on Terror has exacted a tremendous toll on America’s service members and their families. The country’s longest war has been fought repeatedly by a minuscule percentage of its population; never has such a monumental burden fallen on the shoulders of so few. The psychological trauma and ensuing problems caused by years in some of the most hostile conditions imaginable can lead to catastrophic consequences in all facets of an affected veteran’s life, leading to broken family relationships, homelessness, unemployment, and even incarceration.

PTSD and TBI certainly do not excuse criminal behavior, it is clear that imprisonment alone will not only fail to remedy the underlying causes

Regardless of the exact number of GWOT veterans incarcerated today, it is clear that with up to one million GWOT service members suffering from mental disorders that can lead to criminality, the number of veteran offenders will continue to grow. The war will wind down, troops will come home, and the military will shrink

by discharging hundreds of thousands of veterans into civilian society without an adequate support structure to address their mental health needs, difficulties with reintegration, unemployment, and a host of other issues. In fact, many troops may not even experience difficulties for several years after their service, suggesting that the worst may be yet to come.[i]

Participation in a VC is voluntary, and defendants must agree to comply with the courts conditions, such as undergoing mandatory treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues, obtaining housing and employment, and attending any requisite therapy sessions for the duration of the program. [ii]

The Veterans Court’s admissions standards rank among the most inclusive in the country.  This ensures that those veterans whose crimes may be most connected to their military service can turn their lives around. The Ninth Judicial Districts is allowing for consideration of military service during criminal proceedings would recognize veterans’ sacrifices while acknowledging that their crimes may result from underlying issues caused by their service. Veteran Courts benefit society by reducing financial costs associated with incarceration, increasing public safety, and providing justified individualized treatment to men and women who, in the words of Judge Bostick, volunteered to “go anywhere I am sent, do anything I am commanded, and signed that blank check to Uncle Sam, payable with my life if necessary, in service of our country.” [iii]

Vet to Vet Tennessee Veterans Court data to date:

  • Graduation rate, 96% – Justice involved veteran (JIV) has successfully completed the TX and has not returned to the justice system
  • Dropout/termination rate, 20% –  JIV has intentional removed him/herself from VC or has been terminated for TX non-compliance by either HRMC or V2VT and returned to the court.

Please help us stop veteran suicide, homelessness, and incarceration.  “Do Something!”

[i] Logsdon & Keogh, supra note 7, at 20 (remarking that one study found that most arrested former troops had been discharged from the military for over ten years prior to arrest); see also Berenson, supra note 11, at 38 (“Traumatic brain injuries . . . are difficult to diagnose and treat and may not present symptoms until well after the injury.”

[ii] Spectrum Dep’t, Second Chance for Vets, 73 TEX.B.J. 810, 810 (2010).

[iii] Alabama Shelby County’s Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bill Bostick

 

 

 

VA Primary Care Patient Information Booklet

June 14, 2017 Knoxville, Tennessee

The Mountain Home VAMC and all of their clinics now have a primary care patient information booklet available to all veterans.  The booklets are being distributed during the orientation for new veterans, however, very few current veterans were aware of the booklet until Freddie Owens discovered the booklet from his  Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) clerk.  A PACT team is a team-based model of care led by a primary care provider (PCP) who enables continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s health care needs or appropriately coordinating care with other qualified professional, led by a PCP, works collaboratively with the patient to plan their overall health care.

The booklet is filled with valuable information including contact numbers.  We recommend to all veterans that they obtain this booklet.  The booklets are available at Mountain Home VAMC, Knoxville Outpatient Clinic, and Bristol/Campbell Co (LaFollette)/ Morristown/Norton/Rogersville/Sevierville Community Based Outpatient Clinics.

The booklet contains information about clinic appointments, Co-managed care,transportation, hospital services, non-VA emergency room visits and hospitalizations, patient rights and responsibilities, My HealteVet, Pharmacy, health information programs, pain management, suicide prevention, social work services, domiciliary, women’s clinic, eye clinic services, instructions for lab work, contact information and locations.

The VA has the booklets available NOW!  So please go to the VA and retrieve yours!  Or you can click here to view and/or download.the current version.  The contact information is updated by the VA as necessary so some of the numbers may have changed.  To eliminate outdated information, the VA is creating a booklet link.

Thanks to the support of KOPC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Sexton, the orientation workbook will be posted on the MHVAHCS website in the near future.  We’ll let you know when the post is available.

Click here to download the important contact numbers.  In the meantime, please make sure you get yours and make sure you tell other veterans.

Knoxville Area Korean Association & Vet to Vet TN hosts Korean Vets Reunion

June 24, 2017 Knoxville, Tennessee

It has been 64 years since the Korean War ended with a cease-fire.

For years, Korean War Army Veteran Rex Davis organized a reunion luncheon. Rex died on May 22, 2017. After he died, the Knoxville Area Korean Association decided to take over the luncheon and asked for support from Vet to Vet Tennessee (V2VT)

Rex Davis June 25, 2016

“Since he passed away recently, Knoxville Area Korean Association and V2VT wishes to continue the event in his memory with his passion for Korean War Veterans. Most of Korean War Veterans are over 80 and there are not many of them around now. As Korean, we want to show our appreciation to the veterans and remember them what they have done for us,” said Gina Phillips, Vice President of the Knoxville Area Korean Association.

This year’s luncheon was held on Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. at Bearden Banquet Hall.  June 25 marks the day of the 1950 invasion of South Korea and the allied support of the U.S. Military.

Phillips said the annual reunion keeps Korean War Veterans connected and the memory of the “Forgotten War” alive. She said stories and memories will be shared and the veterans will be celebrated.

“We’re trying to carry on his spirit. We’re the ones that are appreciative of the Korean War veterans,” said Phillips.

V2VT joined the reunion three years ago and continues to provide volunteers and support to the heroes of the Forgotten War.  Many of the volunteers were members of V2VT: Barbara Scott, Don Davis, Freddie Owens, George Howell Jr., Linda Fletcher, Randall Scott, Robert Hatley, Sheryn Davis and Ed Junod as MC.  Freddie Owens and numerous members of his church, Redemption Church International attended including 5 teenagers.

Click here to view the reunion agenda, honored guest and supporters. 2017 Korean War Veterans Recipients

Korean War Commemoration Certificates of Honor were presented to 41 US Korean War Veterans.  V2VT also presented 22 Korean Veterans with the Vietnam War Commemoration presidential proclamation.  V2VT also provided all of the Korean War Veterans with an application for the Republic of South Korean’s Ambassador for Peace Medal.

Click here to view photos

V2VT is honored to be a partner of the Knoxville Area Korean Association and want to especially thank President Chong Yu and reunion organizer Jean Watkins for an outstanding event.

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VA Primary Care Patient Information Booklet Available NOW!

June 22, 2017 Knoxville, Tennessee

The Mountain Home VAMC and all of their clinic now have a primary care patient information booklet available to all veterans.  The booklets are being distributed during the orientation for new veterans, however, very few current veterans were aware of the booklet until Freddie Owens discovered the booklet from his  Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) clerk.  A PACT team is a team-based model of care led by a primary care provider (PCP) who enables continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s health care needs or appropriately coordinating care with other qualified professional, led by a PCP, works collaboratively with the patient to plan their overall health care.

The booklet is filled with valuable information including contact numbers.  We recommend to all veterans that they obtain this booklet.  The booklets are available at Mountain Home VAMC, Knoxville Outpatient Clinic, and Bristol/Campbell Co (LaFollette)/ Morristown/Norton/Rogersville/Sevierville Community Based Outpatient Clinics.

The booklet contains information about clinic appointments, Co-managed care,transportation, hospital services, non-VA emergency room visits and hospitalizations, patient rights and responsibilities, My HealteVet, Pharmacy, health information programs, pain management, suicide prevention, social work services, domiciliary, women’s clinic, eye clinic services, instructions for lab work, contact information and locations.

The VA has the booklets available NOW!  So please go to the VA and retrieve yours!

Thanks to the support of KOPC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Sexton, the orientation workbook will be posted on the MHVAHCS website in the near future.  We’ll let you know when the post is available.