Veterans Seize Opportunity to Build Better Lives | Crime and courts

CROWN POINT – Some of the 14 attendees at the Lake County Veterans’ Treatment Court who celebrated their graduation ceremony on Wednesday appeared through Zoom, while others brought their families.

Lake Superior Court judge Julie Cantrell congratulated them all on their hard work.

“Sometimes we make big strides. Sometimes we make little strides. Sometimes we do things with big expectations, and sometimes it takes a lot of pushing, pushing, begging and pleading,” Cantrell said.

“I tell veterans that I will be happy to be your teacher, your mother, your babysitter, your best friend, your cheerleader – whatever role you need me to get you through. this program is what I’m willing to do. “

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Cantrell, its staff, program mentors and participants have done things, she said.

It’s not easy to get to know someone through Zoom, so she and her staff have started hosting weekly meetings in a Crown Point park to spend face-to-face time outside of the classroom. hearing.

Graduate Jerzy Dunlap started a family during the program, so Cantrell and her staff watched her baby grow as he attended outdoor gatherings, she said.

“We had to be more innovative,” Cantrell said.

Dunlap, a Navy veteran who joined the program after being charged with operating while intoxicated in Jasper County, said the Veterans Treatment Court was such a positive experience it now hopes to become a mentor for new participants.

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