Phila. Veterans Court Gave New Life to Iraq War Vateran

Phila. Veterans Court Gave New Life to Iraq War Vateran

No one will argue that veterans courts perform a vital and necessary service in not only making sure that veterans get a fair hearing, but that they receive medical or psychological treatment if that's required based on the trauma of war they encountered.

A case in point is that of Timothy Wynn, who returned to Philadelphia from Iraq in 2003 and, in his words, "It took me four days to see the inside of a jail cell. I was arrested for aggravated assault. My drinking (and eventual drugging) had  given me all of what I thought I needed to transition back into society. I was wrong. Those substances destroyed my life. I had seven arrests and spent a year of my life in prison. I lost my  family and what hurt the most was not being with my daughter for the first four years of her young life. Something had to change if I was going to survive."

After his final arrest, Tim Wynn was placed in the Philadelphia Veterans Court, which he says "Saved my life." There he found other veterans who were working on the same mission, the mission of recovery. 

"Not every veteran struggles upon returning from the places we have been, but there are quite a few who need some help," Wynn says. "And help is what we get in Veterans Treatment Courts."` Among the other services Wynn cited that "help veterans get back on their feet" are the VA, the Department of Behavior Health, the Vet Center and veterans service organizations like the VFW.

Wynn says veterans who come through these courts learn a new way of living. "Anybody who questions that should attend a Veterans Court graduation and see the gratitude from not only the veterans, but the mothers, fathers and countless family members who can sleep better knowing their veteran is healthy again both mentally and physically."

After his graduation from the Philadelphia Veterans Court, Wynn decided to "stick around and continue to volunteer for the new veterans that come into court each week." He  has praise for Patrick Dugan, the no-nonsense judge who presides over the court and tells the veterans who appear before him that "I need you back to being the person you were when you raised your right hand and swore to defend this country — and today we start that mission."

Tim Wynn is now back  with his family and is the mentor coordinator of the Philadelphia Veterans Court. He is a proud graduate of the court where he now serves others.

Editor's Note: Legislation to create veterans treatment courts in New Jersey, sponsored by  Sen. Jeff Van Drew, was approved by the Senate's Military and Veterans Affairs Committee by a 4-0 vote  at a hearing in Trenton on June 9, 2016. To the  best of our knowledge, nothing has happened since then. New Jersey is one of only 12 states is the US that does not have veterans courts. For more on veterans courts in New Jersey, read Legislation to Create Veterans Courts in New Jersey Clears First Hurdle.