Butler County Holds 8th Veterans Treatment Court Graduation; PA Supreme Court Justice Presided
December 15, 2020
In a special ceremony, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd joined the Hon. Timothy F. McCune, Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) Judge, and Hon. William R. Robinson Jr. in presiding over the graduation of 15 participants from Butler County’s VTC this past month.
Sharing her experience as the wife of an army veteran, Ret. Col. Steve Todd, Justice Todd congratulated the veteran graduates and commended them for their perseverance through incredible hardships.
“I cannot begin to know everything you and your families have gone through, but I do know that you have served our country honorably,” Justice Todd said. “You have encountered tremendous difficulties and have overcome difficult challenges. The fact that you have completed this program and have made it to this day speaks volumes. It has not been easy, but you did it.”
Judge McCune echoed Justice Todd’s sentiment saying, “These participants have worked hard, had more responsibility, and have been asked to do more than any other people involved in the criminal justice system.”
Addressing the Vietnam Veterans directly, Judge McCune said, “I might have said it at every one of these graduations, but to all Vietnam Veterans – welcome home! One of the common threads that these Veterans Treatment Courts have, is that we as a community treat our Veterans better now that you were treated when you came home. The Veterans Administration does a much better job now than they did then, and I think the court system has recognized our responsibility and role in veterans’ care as well – that’s why these VTC programs were started.”
The featured speaker was football great Rocky Bleier. Mr. Bleier is a veteran, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, and a four-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr. Bleier, who is very active in supporting causes relating to military veterans, delivered an inspirational and encouraging message to the graduates.
Since the inception of Butler County’s VTC in 2012, a total of 53 veterans have successfully completed the program.
There are 25 counties with VTC programs throughout Pennsylvania that assist justice-involved veterans suffering from mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder and other co-occurring disorders as a result of their service to this country.
The purpose of Veterans Courts is to reduce recidivism and help veterans return to their jobs and families and become productive citizens. Participants are intensely supervised throughout the course of the program, while receiving guidance and support from veteran mentors, as well as any necessary treatment from the VA or local treatment providers.
Media contact: Kimberly Bathgate, 717-576-4373