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5 people graduate from Veterans Court in Great Falls - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

5 people graduate from Veterans Court in Great Falls

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GREAT FALLS -

The 8th Judicial District Veterans Treatment Court in Great Falls hosted its fourth graduation ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.

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. 

On Tuesday, Rory Mattheisen, Stephen Peck, Frank Bollick, John Neuser, and Heidi Vukasin stood in front of their families, friends, and the court and took the next step in their lives. 

They spoke of how the court give them hope and tools to be able to cope with experiences they may face outside of treatment.

Some of the participants will become mentors in the program, while others have started support groups for veterans in the community. 

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

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

"Simply put, the Veterans Court saved my life. Even in a world of refusal, denial, fear, anger, and embarrassing impression: they gave me the opportunity to get up up the shattered pieces of my life and begin gluing them back together. Working this program I gain the power to live to the end of each day. The courage to face the next day," said Heidi Vukasin.

During the graduation, Judge Greg Pinski took time to remember Rodger McConnell, who passed away in July.

Rodger was one of the founder of the vets court in Great Falls and he has made a lasting impact on these vets lives.

RELATED:
3 veterans celebrate treatment court graduation in Great Falls
Veterans Court now available for veterans charged with federal crimes in Montana

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