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Two veterans become first to graduate Cobb County Veterans Treatment Court: Veterans win battle to regain their lives after suffering from PTSD

(Marietta, Ga.-May 4, 2016) --- The Cobb County Veterans Treatment Court will hold its inaugural graduation ceremony 9 a.m., Friday, May 13, in the first floor Jury Assembly Room of the Cobb County Superior Court.

Two veterans are expected to graduate at the ceremony, which signifies their completion of a minimum 18-month long program focusing on rehabilitating veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need to lead a productive, law-abiding lifestyle. Research suggests many veterans suffer from adjustment issues when they come back into civilian life, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
 
“This treatment court offers veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation, an opportunity to address the issues brought on by their military service, that have ultimately lead to their involvement with the criminal justice system,” Flynn Broady, VTC Progam Coordinator, said. “Now, with all of their hard work and dedication, these graduates have a chance to fulfill the potential they demonstrated when initially joining the military. “
 
Former Marine and presiding judge of the VTC, Reuben Green, said that oftentimes veterans will treat mental health issues with different substances to cope.  
 
“Once they are stable, the VTC assists them in identifying stable housing and then requires them to find a job or enroll in a higher education program,” Judge Green said. “This is exactly how VTC participant Brandon Musser claims he was able to regain the structure he needed coming out of the military.”
 
VTC Treatment Coordinator Kristie Garrett said, “Both of our graduates joined the military at a young age and entered an environment where someone told them when to eat, bathe and sleep. When they began adjusting to a normal lifestyle again without the structure the military afforded them, they discovered they were lacking essential life skills, and turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope. Treatment and therapy, provided by the VTC in conjunction with the Atlanta VA Medical Center, helped to provide theses participants with the tools they need to live a successful life on their own.”     
 
Another unique facet of the VTC is the Mentor Program.
 
“Each VTC participant is paired up with an honorably discharged veteran from the community who serves as a mentor to the participant,” Judge Green said. “Some of these mentors have suffered from PTSD and are able to help guide and advise the participants throughout their recovery. Musser claims the mentors are essential to the success of the program.”
 
One graduate, Willis Hatfield-Reavis, credits the mentors, and his ability to network with them, for his newfound passion in healthcare.
 
“I’ve found my passion through Veterans Court. I believe the best blessing you can do for your country, outside of serving in the military, is serving our veterans,” Hatfield-Reavis said.

That is exactly what he plans to do by opening Will2Win, a wellness center that will aid veterans in need of guidance and support by offering life coaches, personal trainers and a place to house homeless veterans. Both graduates also credit Judge Green and his military experience as a huge benefit to the program.
 
“I’ve been in the justice system a long time, and I’ve been before a lot of judges that once they start laying down the hammer, it sets the tone for every case to follow, but not with Judge Green,” Musser said. “He treats every person as an individual and never lets a prior case set the precedent for his next ruling.”
 
Hatfield-Reavis also praises Judge Green saying, “He gives us hope. We come to him homeless and addicted, after doing a great thing for our country, and he gives us the hope we need to keep pushing forward to be model veterans.”
 
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For more information, or to schedule an interview with the graduates, please contact Amanda Marshall at 678-522-9261 or email Amanda at amanda.marshall@cobbcounty.org.