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Veterans Court a long-overdue and correct rehab tool

They put their lives on the line in the service of our country and in places throughout the world, defending freedom. Or they are stateside and perform important, understated duties on behalf of all of us.

When their time of duty is up, many military veterans are expected to return to a normal existence even though their time of service often leaves them unprepared to do so.

They may have physical scars to deal with and/or mental anguish of unimaginable depth. Or they simply can’t find a way to blend back into the rest of the world.

One of the results can be problems that result in legal troubles.

It’s the last thing our vets should have to endure.

President Judge Nancy L. Butts kicked off Lycoming County’s Veterans Court Monday to help serve some of the more than 14,000 veterans in the county.

Through the court, defendants will be put in contact with the Lycoming County Department of Veterans Affairs to assist in their rehabilitation that will prevent them from serving extended prison sentences.

The assistance will extend to mental and physical health, drug and alcohol treatment and transportation to and from various locations.

Perhaps more important than anything else, they will be given mentors by the court who are veterans themselves who will provide an empathetic ear when things get rough. The hope is that the special bond veterans share will help with rehabilitation.

The end mission is to take vets who are going through a rough patch and give them help to keep them from falling deeper into a hole that in some cases is inevitable.

This is a long-overdue court tool that we hope works for veterans now and in the future.

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