The first Veterans Court graduation during the COVID 19 pandemic was held in Monroe County General Sessions and Veterans courtroom at the new Monroe County Justice in Madisonville Tennessee on August 19, 2020 in front of Judge Dwaine B. Thomas.
Several milestones were achieved.
Three justice involved veterans were scheduled to graduate. Army veteran Donald Keltch, Army/Navy veteran Wayman “Keith’ Stephens, and Marine veteran Joshua Chastain.
- First graduation without Robert “Bob” Hatley – Co-founder of the Monroe County Veterans Court who passed in April 2020
- First graduation without Vet to Vet Tennessee member Wayne Arden who passed in August 2020
- Three justice involved veterans scheduled to graduate.
- First Veterans Court graduation in the new courtroom
- Introduction of Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center therapist Cade Long
- Graduates from three counties – Bradley, Meigs and Monroe
Mr. Keltch served 10 years in the Army and entered the Veterans Court on 10-16-20. Donald successfully completed his treatment plan in February 2020. He is the first justice involved veteran from Bradley County. Donaland was scheduled to graduate on April 18, 2020 but was cancelled due to the virus. Donald and his wife Evelyn attended the ceremony and were very thankful to Judge Thomas, Vet to Vet TN and Lisa Wilkerson (Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center Therapist) for their support and prayers. Mrs. Wilkerson could not attend the ceremony but sent a letter to Judge Thomas and Vet to Vet Tennessee. Ed Junod read the letter to the court. Mrs. Keltch said the program was “life changing” and very happy she and Donald participated in the therapy. Congratulation Evelyn and Donald.
Mr. Stephens served 31 years in the Army and Navy and entered the Veterans Court on December 4, 2019. Bob Hatley and Randall Scott were Keith’s mentors. Cade Long, Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center, was Keith’s therapist. Keith successfully completed his treatment plan in July 2020. Keith was unable to attend the ceremony due to an emergency health issue. Judge Thomas and Vet to Vet Tennessee will reschedule the ceremony. Congratulations Keith.
Mr. Chastain served 4 years in the Marines. Meigs County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Casey Stokes transferred Joshua to the Monroe County Veterans Court on February 4, 2020. Joshua is the first justice involved veterans to be transferred from Meigs County. Bob Hatley and Randall Scott were Keith’s mentors. Cade Long, Helen Ross McNabb Military Services Center, was Keith’s therapist. Keith successfully completed his treatment plan in August 2020. Joshua very very grateful for the support by Judges Stokes and Thomas, Vet to Vet Tennessee, Helen Ross McNabb and his employer. Semper Fi!
Click here to view the graduation photos.