FORT HOOD — The Army post welcomed special guest U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Friday to witness the graduation of the first three participants in the Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support Court, an alternative-to-prosecution program.

The program is designed to help honorably discharged veterans or soldiers who are returning to their civilian lives after active duty avoid federal misdemeanor charges.

A veteran must have committed a crime such as drunken driving, where often the root cause is “self-medicating” to deal with issues caused by combat stress or sexual trauma, said Capt. Patrick Robinson, the driving force behind the program.

“The program is not currently designed for active-duty soldiers or those who will remain on active duty,” said Robinson, Fort Hood’s lead judge advocate general prosecutor. “It’s possible it could expand that way at some point.”

The offenses don’t have to happen on post, but they must be offenses over which federal courts have jurisdiction, he said.

Cornyn, a former Texas judge and state attorney general, said he was honored to be invited to the graduation.

“Just sitting here thinking about these graduates and what you have accomplished with the help, support and love of so many people, this reminds me once again that there in nothing as powerful as a good idea,” Cornyn said. “Unless, of course, it’s the power of a good example. And I think we have both of those at work here today.”

Two of the veterans graduating from the yearlong program were Carlos Fields and Lindsey Jones, both of Killeen. A third graduate did not wish to release his name.

COMING SUNDAY: Read the Daily Herald to learn more about the Veterans Endeavor for Treatment and Support Court.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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