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3 men graduate from the Pennington County Veterans Court program

veteran court grads
veteran court grads(Aleah Burggraff)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - 3 men with 3 similarities. Each one of them a veteran, all 3 faced imprisonment, and now Marc, Bill, and Jack are graduates of a program that helped them overcome addiction.

“This program literally saved my life and therefore helped other people as well,” said U.S. Navy Veteran, Bill S.

The Pennington County Veterans Court Program started in 2016 as a way to help members of the community who served their country and later developed a mental health disorder or became an addict.

“But, even if they’re not, even we can’t contribute that addiction or mental health disorder to their service, we’re still here to help them because they did serve in this county,” said Judge Todd Hyronimus.

The program is challenging and requires participating veterans to take accountability by appearing regularly in front of the Veterans Court Judge, taking random drug tests, counseling, education classes and more to ultimately help them lead a productive, law-abiding life.

“What we really wanted to do was to make sure that if we had veterans in this community that needed help if they were involved in the criminal justice system and they were potentially looking at a prison sentence, what can we do to help them to not only keep them out of prison but to help them get into recovery and to become, once again, successful members of this community,” said Hyronimus.

Each graduating veteran faced some sort of substance abuse that took control of their life, but they were able to take back the reigns thanks to this program.

“And I can honestly sit here today and say if it were not for Veterans Court, I would not be here at all. This program has saved my life,” said U.S. Air Force Veteran, Marc R.

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