East TN Veterans Treatment Court Public Announcement 9-29-14

New veteran-specific court program set to launch in Knox County and beyond

KNOXVILLE – On September 29, 2014 , Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knoxville Deputy Mayor William Lyons, Deputy Sheriff Eddie Biggs, Department of Veterans Affairs Mid-South Healthcare Network (VISN-9) Chief Mental Health Officers Dr. M. Cecilia Farina-Morin, members of the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and other officials will announce a new veteran-specific court program in Knox County. Tennessee Commissioner of Mental Health Doug Varney was represented by Director of the Office of Criminal Justice Services, Knox County General Sessions Judge Chuck Cerny and Knox County Veterans Treatment Court first graduate Jeff Hepler also participated in the announcement.Purpose of the East TN Veterans Treatment Court Public Announcement event was to increase awareness and participation of all counties, communities and justice involved veterans in the Veterans Treatment Court process.  Click on the highlights to learn more about the event: Program, Honorees, VTC Prayer.

Tennessee State Representative John Ragan was not able to attend, however, he prepared a video for with his vision and support of Veterans Treatment Courts.

East Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court Committee is leading the way in East Tennessee by creating a VTC hub to outreach to all veterans no matter where they live in Tennessee, especially the vets that live in very rural communities where this type of service normally does not exist.

According to the Founder of Veterans Treatment Courts, Honorable Robert Russell, “It works!” It is extremely successful and saves lives and money.

Similar to over 190 operational Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) in the United States, the Knox County Veterans Treatment Court is a judicially supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, enhances community safety, and improves public welfare.

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Veterans Treatment Courts combine rigorous treatment and accountability for veterans facing incarceration due to charges stemming from substance abuse or mental health issues.

They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response and the understanding that the bonds of military service and combat run deep. Veterans Treatment Courts not only allow veterans to go through the treatment court process with other veterans who are similarly situated and have common past experiences, and also provides them with mentor veterans in the Veterans Treatment Court program.

Veterans Treatment Courts expedite access to veteran-specific resources, including benefits and treatment earned through military service. The VTC coordinates with, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans Benefits Administration, Vet Centers, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, volunteer veteran mentors, Knox County Department of Veterans Affairs, and veteran’s family support organizations.

Judge Chuck Cerny, Knox County General Session Court, started the Knox County Veterans Treatment Court in January 2014 to serve county veterans in the justice system through a specialized treatment court that focuses on substance abuse and mental health treatment while providing them with an environment that encourages law-abiding behavior.

Judge Cerny, along with a dedicated team of volunteers and professionals, strive to coordinate mental health and substance abuse services while providing necessary housing and family support.


New Vet to Vet Middle TN

On September 28, 2014 we are proud to announce the approval to form a new Vet to Vet Middle TN!  Founder of Vet to Vet James “Moe” Armstrong, Vet to Vet USA National Trainer Ed Drew and Vet to Vet TN Outreach Officer Ed Junod joined Harry “Top” Hishon and Charlie Trawick for this historical event.  The group executed a memorandum of understanding to form and operate as Vet to Vet Middle TN.  Top Hishon is the new Vet to Vet TN President, Charlie Trawick is the Vet to Vet Middle TN Vice President and Bill Kampbell is their Chaplain.

Vet to Vet Middle TN covers 40 counties which has almost 200,000 veterans living in their communities.  Click here to view the vet population by county.

Vet to Vet Middle TN will be a part of their Veteran Mental Health Council, will for a Faith-Based Community Committee and a Veterans Treatment Court Committee and will set up a VTC hub to service the 40 counties in their service area.  Vet to Vet TN’s bylaws are the same as Vet to Vet TN to provide consistency in the mission and purpose of Moe Armstrong’s vision.  One new section was added to include a Chaplain as part of the Board of Directors. Bill Kampbell, MSgt. USMC (Ret.) has accepted the position.

Please welcome our new Vet to Vet Middle TN by emailing their President Top Hishon or by leaving a comment below or calling 865-336-2624..


Second chance court targets East TN veterans

Knox County quietly launched a new court six months ago targeting military veterans in trouble with the law. It’s a big move that has the potential to help hundreds, if not thousands of veterans in East Tennessee.

“There’s been a 25 year history of problem solving courts across the country and by starting a veterans treatment court, Knox County is right there in a leadership role,” said General Sessions Judge Chuck Cerny, who oversees the new Veterans Treatment Court in Knox County.

Supporters of the court say the goal is to move veterans who qualify into counseling and job programs rather than simply locking them up for their crimes.

“We think as veterans they deserve a second chance in most cases,” said Frank Vollmer, who served in the Army during Vietnam and now serves as volunteer mentor attached to the new court. Mr. Vollmer helped guide the first graduate of the program through counseling sessions and made himself available around the clock by phone in case his veteran needed advice or simply to talk.

“We’re trying to be their supporter and their friend and that starts day one,” said Mr. Vollmer.

Potential candidates for the court are identified as soon as they run through the booking process at the jail intake center. A form asks if they have ever served in the military. If the answer is “yes” screeners for the court look at their crimes, background, and whether the inmate has an interest in committing to, in most cases, a year long program packed with counseling sessions and work requirements.

“If you can turn a life around there is no further cost of incarcerating that person. Maybe that person pays back the money they stole. Maybe they get a job and start paying taxes again,” said Judge Cerny, who predicts the program will not only save taxpayers money in the long run but serve hundreds of military veterans hungry to make a positive change in their lives.

For more information about the Veterans Treatment Court: 865.336.2624 or www.tnvhc.org

New Veterans Treatment Court to Launch in TN on 9-24-14


September 24, 2014


Ed Junod    office 336-2624    cell 850-8376

Michael Grider    office 215-4570    cell 363-8681


New Veterans Treatment Court program set to launch in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE – Next week, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, members of the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and other officials will announce a new veteran-specific court program in Knox County. Tennessee Commissioner of Mental Health Doug Varney and Knox County General Sessions Judge Chuck Cerny will also participate in the announcement.

The announcement will be made at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 29 at the Community Action Committee’s L.T. Ross Building’s large meeting room, 2247 Western Ave. Immediately following the announcement, participants and attendees are invited to take part in a panel discussion concerning the program and its details.  View program here.

The announcement and the roundtable discussion are open to the public. Several elected officials, including members of the Knox County Commission and the Knoxville City Council, may be in attendance.

Please contact Ed Junod with the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council or Michael Grider with Knox County for additional information about this event.