NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Tuesday night, a graduation class of just nine people will walk across the stage to a crowd of supporters. It signifies at least a year’s worth of work making changes and improving the lives of the people participating in the veterans court program.
With graduation day here, the group of veterans are embracing their new, straightened path.
Graduating from veterans court hasn’t been easy for Army veteran Kodi Mitchell. He was dealing with a substance abuse problem when he enrolled in veterans court a year and a half ago.
“It’s really opened my eyes to the fact that the justice system does actually care, before I didn’t realize that. It’s opened my eyes to myself having a problem, before I didn’t even realize that I had an issue,” said Mitchell.
Judge Maria Granger and Judge Drew Adams lead the court through a rigorous, time-intensive program.
Traci Walker, a 14-year Navy veteran says the court’s stability and support helped her realize the root of why she’d committed crimes and helped to treat those issues.
"They really care about who we are," Walker said. "It helped me a lot to have that guidance on what I needed to do, so I was very proactive in wanting to seek recovery and recovery is not easy.”But this ceremony will be bittersweet.
Veterans Court supervisor and Clark County Judge Drew Adams was in Indianapolis May 1 with Judge Brad Jacobs when they were shot and seriously injured. Both are still recovering.
Granger said graduation won’t be the same with Adams there.
“It is and I’m certainly going to take some time out to push some prayer up so that he will get back home as soon as he can and is able to,” Granger said.
Seeing these veterans straighten out their lives through hard work and perseverance is a feeling Judge Granger says never gets old.
“That resilient spirit that they have, just like the same one they had when they signed up to agree to fight or die for our country, it shows up and I see it in veterans court. And I love it,” Granger said.
For more information about Veterans Court of Southern Indiana, visit the website by clicking or tapping here.