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Cobb Veterans Court Celebrates 10 Years Helping Veterans and Changing Lives

Vet Court Coin in handshake
June 18, 2024

The Cobb Veterans Accountability and Treatment Court Program (VATC) was honored and celebrated for changing the lives of veterans in the county for the last 10 years. Superior Court Judge Robert Leonard, who presides over the VATC, led the event which was attended by over one hundred guests and was held at the Marietta Conference Center. The banquet and event were sponsored by the Bravo Victor Fund, a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, focused on supporting the Cobb Veterans Accountability and Treatment court and providing funding to support the veterans participating in the program.

The honored speakers for the evening included the former presiding judge, Reuben Green, who was responsible for implementing Veterans Court in 2014. Senior Judge Green provided the history of the program’s creation and implementation and was honored with an award for his vision and service in establishing the Veterans Court. In addition, Sergeant Major Ernie Hines, the Veteran Mentor Coordinator, spoke passionately about the veteran mentors and their impact on the success of the participants as they navigate the court program. Sergeant Major Hines was honored and presented an award for his dedication and contribution to the program by Judge Leonard. The crowd of community members, mentors, program graduates, current participants and team members were impacted by the words of two graduates and a current participant of the Cobb VATC program who each talked about how the VATC program changed their lives for the better.

The Cobb County VATC began June 13, 2014, joining a nationwide surge of accountability courts specifically tailored for veterans, addressing issues of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and other mental health issues with counseling, job training, and additional services to help them achieve success. It is an 18- to 24-month program with a mission to increase public safety by reducing recidivism, to alleviate the tax burden of incarcerating law-breaking veterans by assisting participants to become productive taxpayers versus inmates. The program provides intensive case management to address mental health issues, while offering the familiarity of structure and accountability, similar to what was encountered during military service.

Because of the outstanding program structure and positive outcomes, Cobb VATC is recognized as a Model Court in Georgia and serves as a mentor court to other courts around the state as one to emulate.

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