America is tired of war. The second of two, long conflicts is winding down; servicemen and -women are coming home.
The welcome back hasn’t always been warm. Our military personnel have sometimes been blamed for the wars they fought. Add to that the physical and psychic wounds that war veterans bring home with them, the uncertain job market they face, and the general strain of readjusting to civilian life.
As well as our thanks, as well as honor and respect, our veterans deserve every edge we can give them.
In recognition of that, Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull and Circuit Court Judge Tom Felts announced the creation of a new problem-solving court for those who served.
In the new Joint Veterans Treatment Court for Allen County, defendants will not get a pass for crime. They may, though, be directed toward treatment instead of incarceration if such service-generated issues as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and other mental health issues are driving their antisocial behavior.
Allen County is not the judicial guinea pig for this concept: Veterans Affairs officials told The Journal Gazette’s Rebecca S. Green that five other similar courts are already operating in eastern Indiana. And the court is just one of several of the county’s problem-solving courts, including Gull’s Drug Court, and Felts’ Restoration Court, which focuses on mental health issues.
Also this week, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced two programs geared specifically to veterans. One, called Boots for Books, will connect Indiana National Guard soldiers with the effort to help students in 30 Indiana schools learn to read by third grade. Another is a proposal Ritz is calling Second Service, which would expand a program to provide scholarships for veterans who want to become teachers. Ritz is working with Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, to put a bill before the Indiana General Assembly early next year.
And a third reminder that veterans are getting some attention and respect: A Civil War veteran buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery near Hoagland was given a full military sendoff Tuesday, 118 years after his death. An honor guard from American Legion Post 381 in Rome City and VFW Post 2749 in Kendallville assembled to recognize James McConaughy’s service and rededicate the cemetery, which had been cleaned of garbage and weeds by Madison Township Trustee Troy McDonald. Staff Writer Jeff Wiehe reported the guard played taps, fired rifles and placed a flag and star at McConaughy’s grave.
Three disparate stories, one common goal: Hoosiers doing their best to make sure no veteran is left behind.