All Veterans matter, especially those in need. February 2016 begins the second year of the Baldwin County, Alabama Veteran’s Court. Every Veteran who is arrested (with over 200 being considered already), and charged with criminal conduct, (excluding ones charged with severe felonies), has the opportunity to volunteer to enter the program.
From its inception, District Judge Michelle Thomason has conducted the court every Tuesday afternoon in Foley, Alabama. The judge’s program involves a dozen experts dealing with Veteran problems. Volunteer mentors also aid this court and the Veterans. The mentors are all volunteer Veterans who assist the mentee (or Veteran defendant).
The male and female mentors are from all services and ranks and hold a mandatory honorable discharge. The mentor coordinators are nationally trained and all other mentors are locally trained. The main function of the mentor is that of a fellow comrade in arms, who is assigned personally to a mentee. At present there are 11 mentors and 35 mentees. Every month we have new mentees that graduate from their yearlong program that can result in the removal of the criminal charges. Our purpose is to give these Veterans a second chance at life.
The mentor staff is always looking for mentors. The tasks are varied and solutions are round table discussed. Handbooks have been developed for both mentors and mentees to help Veterans through their legal problems. The mentor’s only requirement is past military experience. No legal skills are required.
A mentor is a fellow Veteran, a shoulder to lean on, a person to cover their back and aids him or her daily/weekly with related issues. The mentor’s reward is being able to help and see his mentee graduate. To a mentor, the program is very gratifying knowing they helped those in need.
Now we need your help. Veterans matter.
Pictured From Right to Left:
Joel M Nomberg-mentor coordinator*
Nick Shoultz-mentor coordinator*
Jimmy Driver-team leader*
* 2 years service as a mentor