WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Four veterans graduated from the Kent County Veterans Treatment Court Friday.
The special court is geared toward working with veterans. The people who run it say trauma sustained during military service can sometimes present itself as criminal behavior. When veterans enter the legal system and are referred to the program, they get help with sobriety, recovery, and stability.
“They’ve earned this court through their military service, so yeah, I’m helping them, but in my mind I’m really only giving back, paying them back for what they’ve done and their sacrifices,” Judge Pablo Cortes, who works with the court, said.
Jeff Baldwin was active in the military for seven years and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a second drunken driving office, he entered the Veterans Treatment Court.
“This program gave me structure. It gave me a reason to live, basically. Having a huge, huge veteran base around me that I’m being a part of, I just would not have that without this program,” Baldwin said, who graduated after 18 months in the program.
Baldwin said that because of the court, he has been able to get more custody time with his daughter. He plans to serve as a mentor in the program as a way to give back to his comrades.