Legacy Peer Support Group, Council & Vet to Vet TN grateful to the Elmcroft staff

Elmcroft Senior Living Centers                                                                      October 9, 2014

ATTN: David Grady, Regional Director of Operations

Mr. Grady,

On Behalf of the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council, Vet o Vet Tennessee, and the Legacy Peer Support Group we want to thank you and especially the staff at the Elmcroft of West Knoxville, 8024 Gleason Dr., Knoxville, TN for the assistance they’ve provided to area veterans. Over two years ago the VA Knoxville Clinic no longer had meeting space available for veterans who completed recovery programs due to physical constraints with the Clinic. This issue was televised when veteran s complained and a nurse and administrators at Elmcroft responded with help. They offered us facility space, and our first meeting was held on June 25, 2012he majority of our members are Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi and Afghan veterans, but we’ve also had attendees who served in World War II and Korea. We’ve gladly welcomed Elmcroft residents into our meetings who also share the experience of having served in the military. The reception and support the Elmcroft administrators and staff provide is nothing short of fantastic.

Marvelous+Monday+at+Elmcroft+$28478x640$29Last year we were asked to provide a military service to “retire” the U.S. flag in front of the facility. On September 9, 2013 we lowered the damaged flag, burned it in a ceremony at the base of the flagpole, and raised the new flag to its place of honor.


We planted a memorial ornamental tree and plaque for the deceased son of one of our members in the entrance garden.SONY DSC






Last month, on September 19, 2014, we had the privilege to recognize a new Elmcroft resident who is a WW II veteran and was a German prisoner-of-war (POW).  September 19th was National POW/MIA Recognition Day.  We dedicated and raised a new POW Flag in a service that was attended by many veterans, County officials and Elmcroft residents.


“If you want to know what FREEDOM means, ask a prisoner of war…. I am proud to live in a country that has freedom.

I appreciate what you are doing but I don’t feel that I deserve all of this attention. All gave some, some gave all. The ones that made the ultimate sacrifice all the ones that deserve the honor.

Don’t ever take Freedom for granted. Freedom is not free. God bless the USA and God bless America. I am proud to be an American.” WWII POW and Elmcroft resident Robert William Chadwick 9-29-14

Those we would especially like to recognize are:

Kristy Ritch                            Jenna Conforti                      Dawn Crump

Rebecca Swingle                   Lisa Ellis                               Robert Cover

David McClure                       Lesley Hilton-Young              Pat Anderson

Zoe Ammons

The aides, housekeeping and other support staff whose names we don’t have, but are also so supportive of our members and your residents and guests.

You have a staff that takes great pride and care in what they do, and reflects very positively in the mission and operation of the Elmcroft organization. Thank you,


Edouard P. Junod                                                                   Freddie Owens

Council Chair                                                                          Council Vice Chair

Frank Vollmer                                                                         Ron Morton

Council Secretary                                                                    Council Chaplain & Parliamentarian

NAMI National Board of Directors 2014-2017

Our own Ron Morton, Vietnam Navy Veteran is one of our own and was recently reelected to the NAMI’s National Board of Directors.

Congratulations!  We are proud to call you our Brother!  Welcome Home

The 16 members of NAMI’s National Board of Directors are elected by NAMI members to provide strategic guidance in the fulfillment of NAMI’s mission to eradicate mental illnesses and improve the quality of life of all whose lives are affected by these diseases. NAMI National Board Members have broad responsibility to govern the organization. Together and with input from all members, they make policy to govern NAMI, determine NAMI’s official position on matters of public policy, set the budget and priorities of the national office, and develop strategic plans to guide organizational development.

Ron Morton, M.A.

Ron Morton is a member on the NAMI Board of Directors and director of recovery and resiliency at ValueOptions in Knoxville, Tenn. Mr. Morton was previously the director of recovery services at Peninsula Behavioral Health Services.  Ron Morton is the Parliamentarian and Chaplain of the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council, Co-Chair of the East Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court PTSD/TBI law enforcement subcommittee, and is Peer Facilitator with Legacy Peer Support Group.

Mr. Morton found that the spirit and goals of NAMI matched his own. He would like NAMI to focus on the prevention of child abuse as a causative factor for mental illness. He would also like NAMI to involve more active duty members of the military.

Ron Morton was instrumental in the creation of the National Council of Urban Indian Health and its first president. He is in his second three-year term on the Mayor’s Council for Disability Issues in Knoxville. He is a member of the Psi Chi Psychological Academic Honor Society and the Society of Indian Psychologists. He is the author of “Treatment of Native Americans in an Urban Setting,” published in Innovations in Clinical Practice.

Ron Morton earned his B.S. at the National University in San Diego, his M.S. at United States International University and his Ph.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology. He is a member of NAMI Knoxville.

Veterans gather to help build barn for wounded vet


Hello All:

If anyone is interested, On Saturday October 18, 2014 we will put the finishing touches on the barn.

 Our contractor is bring out a team to finish the trusses and the roof this weekend.  We will have 1 final day to put on the finishing touches to the barn. Projects to complete are listed below. We are anticipating these things can be completed by noon. She is going to be a beauty!  Please share

  • Putting siding on exterior
  • Building barn doors
  • Painting
  • Building Stalls

Stephanie Trost

6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) – More than 100 people from across East Tennessee gathered in Maryville Saturday to help a wounded veteran build a barn at his home.  Michael Trost was wounded while serving in Afghanistan two years ago. He’s still working to recover from his injuries to this day.

Standing in their yard, admiring the hard work of more than 100 veteran volunteers, Michael and his wife, Stephanie, can’t help but smile.  Members from four (4) Veteran Friendly Congregation participated in the event;  Maryville Vineyard, Northstar Church, Middlesettlements United Methodist Church and Redemption Church International.

A few months ago the couple came up with a plan to build a barn in their yard for their animals.  “Somebody asked, ‘do you need help?’ It’s hard for me to admit I need help because I’m a man and I want to try to do everything on my own,” Michael said.

However, Michael knew the injuries he got while serving overseas would make the barn a difficult and time consuming build, so he accepted the help and was shocked when he saw the turnout.

“So far they’ve probably got about four years of work done for me in a day,” he said.

horsesVeterans from every branch of service stopped by the Maryville home Saturday to help cut down trees, saw boards and build the couple a brand new barn.  As volunteers cut down trees from around the yard, they took the branches and piled them up. They said they’d use the branches to build a fence around the barn for the animals.

“We’re all one family and we try to take care of each other,” volunteer Tim Sexton said.  Saturday that meant helping out a brother wounded in battle.


Throughout his career, Michael fought in Korea, Iraq and, most recently, Afghanistan. After decades of service, he thought he’d make it home safe.

“I thought I was going to make it out of Afghanistan in one piece, but I was shot several times with a machine gun on Feb. 20, 2012,” he said.

For more than two years, he’s worked hard to recover. After 32 years of service, Michael retires Monday.

He says he’s thankful so many people still keep him close to their heart.

“Even though I’m wounded and not 100 percent like I used to be, I know there’s a lot of people out there that do care about you,” Michael said.

Michael says the most important lesson he wants to get out to other veterans is, if you need assistance, just ask, because there are plenty of generous people in our community who are willing to help out.

Although volunteers plan to come back to put on finishing touches, they planned to get the majority of the barn build this weekend.

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.