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3 veterans celebrate treatment court graduation in Great Falls - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

3 veterans celebrate treatment court graduation in Great Falls

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Three veterans graduated on Tuesday from the 8th Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court in Great Falls. Three veterans graduated on Tuesday from the 8th Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court in Great Falls.
Szabu noted, "You have to be willing to change. You have to be willing to listen." Szabu noted, "You have to be willing to change. You have to be willing to listen."
The main focus of the program is to get the men and women the treatment they need. The main focus of the program is to get the men and women the treatment they need.
Before the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice honored Jennifer Quick for her work as the founding prosecutor of the program. Before the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice honored Jennifer Quick for her work as the founding prosecutor of the program.
After the presentation, Amber Henning - who works at the courthouse and also appeared in "A White Christmas" - sang "God Bless America." After the presentation, Amber Henning - who works at the courthouse and also appeared in "A White Christmas" - sang "God Bless America."
GREAT FALLS -

Three veterans graduated on Tuesday from the 8th Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court in Great Falls.

The goal of the program, which Judge Greg Pinski established in 2013, is to improve services to veterans and reach out to families of veterans. 

It is a 12 to 18-month program that works to get proper treatment for vets who have been charged with criminal offenses and are struggling with serious addiction or mental illness. 

It involves probation officers, substance abuse counselors and mental health providers, as well as representatives from veterans organizations. 

They must also abide by strict conditions, follow rigorous treatment plans, and attend scheduled hearings before a judge. 

Josh Elder was one of the first veterans to be part of the program and he graduated after two years. 

He was also joined the Stacey Szabu, who is the first female to graduate; and James Dickinson, who the first Navy veteran to graduate.

Tuesday's graduation brings the total number of graduates to 11; there are currently 12 people enrolled in the program.

Participants made weekly appearances in the non-traditional court to talk about their progress as well as discuss any set-backs.

The main focus of the program is to get the men and women the treatment they need.

Szabu noted, "You have to be willing to change. You have to be willing to listen. If you don't like what's being said in court, it's probably because you are doing something you are not supposed to be doing. They are there to help you. That's all that everybody in this staff wants, is to help you succeed and do right."

Before the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice honored Jennifer Quick for her work as the founding prosecutor of the program.

During the last two years, Quick has helped about two dozen veterans through the program.

“Jennifer is personally and professionally passionate about veterans’ issues,” said Judge Pinski. “She went above and beyond by engaging in outreach efforts to expand enrollment and educate other Montana prosecutors on the benefits of the Veterans Court.  Without her support and hard work, the Cascade County Veterans Court would not exist.”

“Jennifer Quick and Judge Pinski are to be commended for their instrumental roles as catalysts for the Cascade County Veteran’s Court, and we look forward to a continuing state and federal collaboration,” said Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that Veterans Court reduces crime, enhances public safety, saves taxpayer money, and helps people by facilitating sobriety, treating mental health conditions, improving social relationships, and promoting lifelong stability for veteran offenders in the community. 

Also during the graduation ceremony, Linda Fuller of Miss Linda's Dance Studio presented the court with a check for $1,000.

The dance group raised the money with their winter performance of "A White Christmas."

Judge Pinski says the donation will go toward helping veterans who need a service dog.

After the presentation, Amber Henning - who works at the courthouse and also appeared in "A White Christmas" - sang "God Bless America."

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