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.

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’;;playerWidth=630;playerHeight=355;isShowIcon=true;clipId=10636386;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlay’></script><a href=”” title=””></a>

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