Mentors Promise To Help Veterans Facing Criminal Charges
by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Returning home can sometimes be an almost impossible adjustment for veterans. Some find themselves struggling emotionally, and can end up in serious trouble.
The state of Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts is now working with Justice for Vets to help veterans who find themselves before a judge.
Harold Hishon knows how hard it is to transition out of the military. A decade after retiring from the Marines, he fell into a depression and even attempted suicide, but with help made his way back.
"They gave me my life back at a late stage. I want to do the same thing. I want to pay it forward,” Hishon said.
He, along with more than 60 veterans, went through a boot camp to learn how to help fellow men and women in uniform who end-up with criminal charges.
Tuesday they all became the state’s first ever Veterans Treatment Court mentors.
"Everyone's path to returning home is not the same,” said Justice for Vets Senior Director Melissa Fitzgerald, who says having veterans helping other veterans offers two very distinct advantages.
"To support you as you go through this very rigorous treatment program through the courts and the other thing is that there is hope,” she said.
Fitzgerald is also known for her role as Carol Fitzpatrick on the hit series The West Wing.
Hishon said he hopes to show struggling veterans the journey to their new life isn’t over just because of a few bumps in the road.
"I'm hoping to inspire him with hope that there is somebody who cares for him that's been there,” he said.
The mentors will be able to work in courts all across the state.