The 2nd Annual Vet Court Con kicks off with a fantastic Opening Ceremony
Highlights from the Opening Ceremony of Vet Court Con
The historic 2nd annual Vet Court Con, the only conference dedicated to Veterans Treatment Courts, kicked off with a memorable Opening Ceremony. Justice For Vets Senior Director Melissa Fitzgerald welcomed hundreds of attendees, congratulating them on the success of Veterans Treatment Courts nationwide. “They work by saving lives. They work by reducing crime. They work by saving the tax-payer a tremendous amount of money, and they work by serving the men and women who have served us so well. And they work because of all of you. All of you today who are here in this room. You are transforming the courtroom into a place of healing. You are redefining justice.”
Fitzgerald welcomes attendees to the 2nd Annual Vet Court Con
Watch Melissa Fitzgerald's full remarks:
Four Star General and previous Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy Barry McCaffrey, Chair of the Justice For Vets Veterans Treatment Court Committee, took the stage to welcome Former Congressman Jim Ramstad. Ramstad emphasized the strong bipartisan support for Veterans Treatment Courts on Capitol Hill.
[L-R]: Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Champions General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey Former Congressman Jim Ramstad
Inspiring remarks were given by the heads of fellow organizations in the field of justice-involved veterans, all of whom expressed the importance of expanding Veterans Treatment Courts: President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA), Rear Admiral W. Clyde Marsh. National President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, John Rowan; Former National Commander of American Veterans, and current mentor in the Youngstown Veterans Treatment Court, John Brown III; and Chief Policy Officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Tom Tarantino.
[TR-BR]: President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA), Rear Admiral W. Clyde Marsh. National President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, John Rowan; Former National Commander of American Veterans, and current mentor in the Youngstown Veterans Treatment Court, John Brown III; and Chief Policy Officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Tom Tarantino.
Keynote speaker, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Acting Director, Michael Botticelli expressed gratitude to Veterans Treatment Court professionals and voiced his strong support for this life-saving movement. “I and our entire office appreciate your commitment and your dedication to honoring those who have served our nation by your support for Veterans Treatment Courts. These courts are saving lives and helping people on the road to recovery.”
ONDCP Acting Director, Michael Botticelli thanks Veterans Treatment Court Professionals
Watch ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli's full remarks:
Host of MSNBC’s Taking The Hill Patrick Murphy, the first veteran of the Iraq War to serve in Congress, took the stage to thank Veterans Treatment Court professionals. “7,000 Veterans would be in jail if it weren't for you. Your work changed the trajectory of their lives,” he noted. “I want to thank you and remind you I will do everything I can to continue to champion your cause.” Murphy then introduced Tulsa Oklahoma’s Veterans Treatment Court Graduate Russell Whitehead.
Watch Patrick Murphy's full remarks:
Veterans Treatment Court Graduate Russell Whitehead brings the crowd to tears at Vet Court Con
Watch Russell tell his moving experience of how a Veterans Treatment Court saved his life:
The Opening Ceremony concluded with an awe-inspiring performance by The New Directions Veterans Choir. This incredible group is made up of formerly homeless veterans who found their way back to life through a program called New Directions, housed at the VA in Los Angeles. The men in the choir are veterans and the women in the group are wives, daughters, sisters, aunts and cousins of veterans. The Choir did a phenomenal rendition of “Circle of Life” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Watch The New Directions Veterans Choir's amazing performance:
Browse Pictures of the Opening Ceremony