Veterans Treatment Court is much needed asset for our community
Tuesday, April 01, 2014 10:00 PM
Thanks to the efforts of Judge Peggy Lohorn and the Probation Department, Montgomery County has a Veterans Treatment Court. This is, indeed, good news.
Veterans often go through hell while serving our country, namely, us.
Alcohol can become a problem. There can be addiction to pain killers and other drugs.
Too often, the experiences of war can ruin a man or a woman.
I speak as an outsider. I was never in the service.
To be honest, I did not believe in the Vietnam War and my draft number was so high, never would I have been called. So, I was thankful and tried to go about my business.
But I had two friends during my college days who had served in Vietnam and I saw what that experience did to them.
Neither of them were convicted of breaking any laws but the effects of war was evident in their lives. At least, that was what I was told my mutual friends who knew them before they went into the service.
One friend was in a bunker under attack. He watched his friends die when a rocket-propelled grenade went into the bunker. His physical body was spared but I am convinced his mind was not.
One evening, we were walking from the car to the dorm when a thunderstorm began.
The sky appeared to be clear but there was a clap of thunder.
My friend was ahead of me and when he heard the BOOM, he turned around and I saw the worst expression of fear I have ever seen on a man's face. I hope to never see it again.
The next summer, he was priming the carburetor on his car. Instead of the engine firing, the gas can caught fire. To save his car, my friend kicked the can, dousing himself with flaming gasoline.
How much of this account was caused by his experience in war, I cannot say. All I know is, his family and friends said he was a different person when he returned from Vietnam.
Another friend had dropped out of college. He was extremely knowledgeable about electronics. I liked hanging around him but, again, his friends all said his experience in Vietnam changed his personality.
He quit his job as chief engineer for a radio station in that town moved to Texas. He left his family behind and I haven't heard from him in the past 40 years.
I thank God for the Veterans Treatment Court.
Truly, our veterans deserve our help. They have given so much in service to us.
Frank Phillips is a reporter for The Paper of Montgomery County.