The Davidson County Veterans Court hosted 2nd annual “Honoring Heroes” event

Holly Spann | GCA News

Judge Dan Eisenstein, Judge Melissa Blackburn, Gary Blackburn, and Anne Martin. - photo by Holly Spann

Judge Dan Eisenstein, Judge Melissa Blackburn, Gary Blackburn, and Anne Martin. – photo by Holly Spann

The second annual “Honoring Heroes” fundraising event was recently held at the Freeman Webb Company’s rooftop patio and penthouse in Green Hills. The Davidson County Veterans Court hosted the benefit and the proceeds went to the Court’s Foundation.

The Davidson County Veterans Court Foundation was created in 2014 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. It is administered by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health Services.  The Honorable Judge Melissa Blackburn presides over the Court. Veteran Bob Tuke is the President of the Foundation board and served as Honorary Chair of this year’s event.

According to new data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide.  This statistic reflects a disturbing mental health crisis among veterans.  In 2014, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all suicides in America. Veterans make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population. The Davidson County Veterans Court is dedicated to changing this somber statistical reality.

Sharon Romain, Thomas Sales, Vondra Sales and Metro Council Member Karen Johnson.

Sharon Romain, Thomas Sales, Vondra Sales and Metro Council Member Karen Johnson.

Across the United States, Veterans treatment specialty courts are working to meet the specific needs of the men and women who have served our country defending freedom.  Because of the difficult circumstances veterans experience, many return with a myriad of challenges due to the difficult circumstances they experienced.

Judge Blackburn said, “Many of the men and women who enter the Veterans Treatment Court Program have lived through experiences that are impossible for the rest of us to imagine. Here we do not excuse crimes.  No one gets a free pass to avoid responsibility for their actions. They are given the opportunity to turn their lives around and a commitment from our staff to be there as they work to reclaim their lives.”

The Court assists men and women who return from service with emotional and physical trauma, which can lead  to crime. Through the court’s restorative justice program, Veterans are given a fresh start and a chance to return to a productive and successful life.

Through a structured program administered by the Court, eligible veterans can find stability and new purpose to be a contributor to the community. Benefits offered to assist veterans include mental health evaluation, alcohol and substance abuse assistance, and supervision by client specialists assigned to work on their particular needs.
When considering veterans’ unique condition, innovations in the methods by which the Court works to return them to full participation in society are crucial. The Davidson County Veterans Court is employing those methods to give veterans a new chance for a productive life.

The Veterans Court Docket is held at the Justice A. A. Birch Building every Monday.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Davidson County Veterans Court Foundation, please contact Kathleen Murphy at Kathleen@MurphyPublicStrategies.com.