XENIA — Two veterans graduated from Greene County Veterans’ Treatment Court Aug. 23 in Judge Stephen A. Wolaver’s courtroom.
Samuel Matthew Noble, U.S. Army Infantry, of Beavercreek, and Timothy Edward “Eddie” Parks, U.S. Marine Corps, of Fairborn, celebrated completion of the program that involves comprehensive treatment, close supervision by the judge and full accountability from participants.
“Veterans have chosen to serve this country, to risk their lives for this country, and often come back with injuries that you do not get in any other line of work, both physical and invisible,” James W. Schmidt, U.S. Army Infantry, Vietnam veteran, said. “The court system is not only to punish, but it is also to rehabilitate and help people.”
The graduation marks the second for the new specialty court, which began assisting veterans through the criminal justice system in April 2018. The program — which is voluntary — provides structure in the form of regular court appearances, mandatory attendance at treatment sessions and random drug and alcohol testing.
Beyond that, the court can help fill other needs — whether that be transportation or housing, clothing or food, employment or education.
“When they first came into the court they had been on probation for a while but they still had some issues to work through and the answer to that was residential treatment. What I really like here is that when Sam went in, Eddie wanted to be his roommate. They didn’t lose touch with the fact that they were veterans and they were comrades and they were here to help each other out,” Wolaver said. “What really makes me proud is that after they were done, you could really see the difference — what was going on in their lives and where they were headed — it’s spectacular.”
Wolaver and officials presented the graduates each with a certificate, challenge coins, and a flag for their respective branches of service.
“Thanks to everybody for … pushing me through the residential [treatment]. That was a game changer, and thanks to Eddie for making me stay,” Noble said.
“If it wasn’t for this court, I would’ve never made it through probation,” Parks added. “I got my confidence back.”
State Rep. Rick Perales, U.S. Air Force Ret., presented the men with resolutions.
“You worked hard. You had all this support. You’re going to change the lives not only for yourself but of your family, your friends, and you’re not even thinking about this — but the people who follow you,” Perales said. “There are troops right now in the desert who are going through tough times … they’re going to have this to come to to help them get back on their feet. You guys are making a huge difference.”
Gil Esparza, Veterans’ Services officer, gave the graduates one last challenge.
“I challenge you to not look back and keep pressing forward,” he said.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.