About the Initiative
Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation (VFMC) was conceived to promote a sense of community, acceptance and support for Veterans and their families in East Tennessee. Launched by the Knoxville Regional Mental Health Council's Faith-Based Committee, it will become an integral part of the Faith Based Initiative.
VMFC made simple. Please listen and better yet, please join in the VMHC movement. A great way to save lives! Please click the orange button to hear the audio introduction to the VMFC.
Upcoming VMFC Boot Camp 3-24-17Audio VMFC IntroductionVeteran Friendly membersRead More
Your Congregation makes a difference
Your congregation can be an environment of acceptance for veterans and their families.
Did you know that veterans are five times (5X) more likely to seek help from their clergy than every VA service combined?
Your congregation could help promote awareness of the needs of those sacrificing their time and effort to support our country.
Listen to the testimony of three Vietnam Veterans whose lives were destroyed for decade because of the war.
Tennessee's VMFC's Hotline at 865-336-2624!
Start a Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation/Ministry/Organization
We appreciate your interest and the investment of your time spent learning how your congregation can better serve veterans and their families. Enrollment is required for your congregation to be registered and listed on the VtMFC national and state registry. No cost to be enrolled. No future cost.
Learn more at:
Become Veteran Friendly
Please listen to Council Co-chairman Freddie Owens and Council member Randall Baxter explains the foundation of a VMFC and the benefits of being a VMFC.
Audio VMFC lesson 101
Resources for Congregations
Your commitment toward becoming a Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation (VMFC) begins with raising awareness among the members that you now have this program in place. We urge you to publish this ministry in your bulletins, newsletters and websites. Your veterans need to know to whom they can turn for assistance.
Veteran Friendly ResourcesMiliatry Chaplains Association
The Honorable Chuck Cerny, VTC Graduate Jeff Hepler, Tennessee Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder
First Veterans Treatment Court in East Tennessee
First Knox County VTC Graduate
September, 10, 2014
Hon. Chuck Cerny began a fully-functional Knox County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) on January 10, 2015
The Sixth Judicial District VTC includes Knox County.
According to the Department of Veterans Affair National
Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, the Sixth Judicial Districts veteran population is 34,252 in 2015.
The national movement has helped create over 200 Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States.
In 2008, Honorable Robert Russell founded of the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court and the VTC
movement. The program's focus is to address specific issues and problems unique to our military veterans.
First Published VTC Study Shows Incredible Success!
The Community Mental Health Journal
has released the first published study on Veterans Treatment Court and
the results are outstanding. Researchers from the Ohio Department of
Mental Health and Addiction Services tracked 86 veterans involved with
Veterans Treatment Court, all of whom were diagnosed with Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD). They found that 89.5% remained arrest-free
during their time in the program and concluded that the veterans
participating in Veterans Treatment Court experienced significant
improvement with depression, PTSD and substance abuse as well as with
critical social issues including housing, emotional well-being,
relationships, and overall functioning.
The study further concluded that mentoring from volunteer veterans
is particularly effective. Veterans who received mentoring not only
experienced better clinical outcomes, they reported feeling more
“Veterans reported better treatment outcomes
and quality of life over time when involved in the Vet Court,” the
study states. “When provided programs and services that fostered
recovery, veterans improved markedly on all study measures. Veterans
particularly improved when provided a combination of trauma-specific
treatment, peer mentor services, and medication. The importance of
trauma-specific therapy and positive peer role models may be important
for veterans with combat exposure who have re-integrated into a society
unfamiliar with the struggles associated with combat experience.” Access the full study here.
The Fourth Judicial District of Tennessee will be added to the national
VTC roster in January 2015. The VTC will be under the direction of Knox County Veterans Court Treatment Court The Honorable Chuck Cerny. The 6th Judicial VTC
Director is Ron Hanaver; Case Manager Freda Wiggs.
The Sixth Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court provides integrated services through
a collaborative partnership with other judicial departments and community
organizations who share an interest in helping veterans. The veteran
participants come before the VTC Judge Chuck Cerny on a regular basis, are required to
attend all programs focused on treating their addictions and dependencies,
perform community service works, maintain jobs, report to court team and probation
staffers as necessary, and work with the veteran mentor. Veteran specific
issues include – but are not limited to – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and substance abuse.
"ALL WE CAN DO IS HELP!" history.
This is the
history of the Knox County Veterans Treatment Court inception and the
Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council (Council) and the
motto “all we can do is help”
Judge Cerny provided an email to the Council on December 10, 2014
which was included in the Council’s presentation to the Tenth Judicial
District of Tennessee members in Madisonville, Tennessee.