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Tucson Veteran's Court receives federal grant

Program gives veterans treatment, resources
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 23:00:27-04

Since 2012, the City of Tucson's Veteran's Court has been helping local veterans adjust to civilian life. 

On Monday, the program received a federal grant to continue helping veterans. 

Butch Hammond is passionate about veterans. He's a graduate of the Tucson Veteran's Court. 

"My wife and I ran into some difficulties and had lost our children for a while," Hammond said. "I was pretty lost when I went into the program and didn't know what to expect. And what I found in there was hope."

Judge Michael Pollard says the early sign of a veteran with mental health problems is when they return home and commit misdemeanor crimes. But this is where the Veteran's Court helps steer these men and women back in the right direction. That includes making sure they regularly attend court hearings, connecting them with the Veteran's Affairs, and setting up treatment and mentor programs. 

"We offer them the opportunity to avoid getting the stigma of a criminal conviction," Judge Pollard, program director of the Veteran's Court said.

The program received two grants back in 2012 that were set to run out next month. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration gave Veteran's Court a $395,000 grant. 

As a graduate, Hammond is a Veteran's Court mentor. 

"I tell them, I can't fix your problem, but I can sure walk through it with you," Hammond said.

He says joining made him feel like he wasn't alone anymore. Now, the program is able to help many more veterans just like him. 

"There's a thing we say, we will not leave another brother or sister behind. And that's true in the combat field, but that's also true here. We won't leave somebody behind," Hammond said. 

Veteran's Court has helped more than 400 local veterans since January 2013. This new grant will go into effect October 1.