Vets behind bars find help, hope with new program - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Vets behind bars find help, hope with new program

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A graduate of the VALOR program is congratulated by Judge John Roach. (KTEN) A graduate of the VALOR program is congratulated by Judge John Roach. (KTEN)

SHERMAN, Texas -- North Texas Regional Veterans' Court is a program that has helped vets across Texoma get back on their feet after a run-in with the law.

"It was a life-changing experience for me, and that's got to be the same for them," said Colt Floyd, a graduate of the program.

But what about helping jailed vets while they're still behind bars?

"Being incarcerated and going through the regular program does not meet the veteran's specific needs," explained Judge John Roach, who established the veterans' court.

So Roach is helping to launch a new program called VALOR: Veterans Accessing Lifelong Opportunities for Rehabilitation, which operates at a minimum detention facility inside the Collin County Jail.

"Though it's in Collin County, it's helping veterans across the State of Texas," Roach said.

The program gives veterans the opportunity to do work and receive individual mental health care for invisible wounds.

"Typically, people who go through the program are in a place where they need some structure, and we typically don't set a bar on how many days you will serve... it's all based on your progress," Floyd explained.

A Grayson County veteran was the first to go through the VALOR program.

"The judge worked with him and asked, 'What are you getting? What are you not getting? We want your feedback; you can be the first one and pave the way for veterans after you," veteran mentor Jerry Wrenn said.

Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith added that VALOR will have a wide-ranging impact. 

"It's another tool in the toolbox that judges and prosecutors can use... even defense attorneys, if need be," he said.

"There's nothing like it in the U.S.," said Judge Roach. "And it all started here in North Texas, and I hope we can be the example across the county."

The VALOR program is only about one month old. The judge said 15 veterans are taking currently taking part, with plans to double that number within a year.

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