When Thank You Is Not Enough

A Justice for Vets Podcast

We say, “Thank you for your service.” We say we are “a grateful nation.” But what should we do when “thank you” isn’t enough?

Justice for Vets is the leading organization working to assist justice-involved veterans. Emphasizing resiliency and hope, we provide tangible solutions to address critical issues facing our veterans, such as justice involvement, substance use, and trauma.

Hosted by Major General (ret.) Clyde “Butch” Tate, each episode of this podcast takes you on a journey with veterans, subject matter experts, and people doing heroic work on behalf of those who have served.

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The Justice For Vets podcast is made possible with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Serving Those Who Served Us

“So our primary goal is to maintain peace in the community and to repair breaches of that piece. So when there’s an offense against an individual or an offense that threatens the community in any way, we go into problem solving mode and we try to do that in a just and fair way.”

Season 1 concludes with a discussion with Montgomery County, Texas First Assistant District Attorney Mike Holley. Mike talks about his philosophy as a prosecutor and why he believes veterans treatment court and other interventions for veterans are the honorable approach to serving those who served us.

What's Next? Expanding the justice system's support for veterans

“VTCs [veterans treatment courts] are critical to veterans because many of them I have found are ashamed that they are defendants in criminal courts. They have committed crimes against the very society they have sworn to protect, and it’s a long, hard fall from grace. These veterans really need our help.”

After seeing the success of Kansas’ only veterans treatment court, Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss made the decision to retire early from the bench and devote his time to traveling the state and building support for more programs. In the penultimate episode of season 1, he and Butch discuss what led to this decision, his work to help jurisdictions in Kansas increase access to treatment for veterans, and why he believes these programs will continue to expand.

Leave No Veteran Behind Part 2

“These [veterans treatment court] mentors, it’s not the traditional mentor model…They’re just there to listen. I think we underplay the power of listening.”

Todd Kramer is living proof that the justice system can play a role in facilitating treatment and recovery. His story also exemplifies the therapeutic camaraderie that exists among those who serve. Todd served in both the Air Force and the Army and deployed as a 40 year old E5. When he came home he struggled to reengage and his addiction deepened. He found recovery and his purpose in veterans treatment court. In this gripping episode, hear his remarkable story and learn how volunteer mentors like Todd are the lifeblood of veterans treatment courts today.

Leave No Veteran Behind Part 1

“I would like to see a veterans treatment court in reach of every veteran that’s in need. Let us in the justice system be cognizant of the needs of the veteran. And if there’s something we can do to assist them in their journey, let us do that.”

S1E5 profiles a true hero of the veterans treatment court movement, retired Buffalo Judge Robert Russell. In 2008, Judge Russell forever transformed the way the justice system identifies, assesses, and treats veterans with a simple act of ingenuity and compassion. Here the story of how the first veterans treatment court came to be, how it spawned a system of programs serving over 15,000 veterans each year, and why it represents the most effective intervention for justice-involved veterans with substance use and mental health disorders.

If You Haven’t Been to the VA in the Last 10 Years, You Haven’t Been to the VA

“I tell all my buddies, if you tried VA 10 years ago like I did, try us again.”

Is the VA a waste of time? Can it really provide the services and care you need? John Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, joins the podcast to share just how much the VA has expanded, evolved, and modernized post-9/11 to better listen to veterans and respond to meet their unique needs.

Could a Vet Center Be Right for Me?

“Vet Center’s current motto includes the three Cs: connection, camaraderie, and community.”

What are Vet Centers? How do they differ from VA hospitals and other VA services? S1E3 takes a deep dive into Vet Centers, looking at their origin, role, and unique approach to providing mental and behavioral health services to our nation’s veterans. This episode features Laura Felten, director of the Milwaukee Vet Center and former Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist.

Demystifying Therapy

“How do you pull a weed? You get it by its root, so it doesn’t grow back.”

S1E2 takes the conversation on trauma and post-traumatic growth to the next level and discusses mental health treatment, therapy, and trauma-informed resources to help veterans recover with James Puckett, a licensed professional counselor and professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin.

Detachment, Reconnection, and Post-Traumatic Growth

“It took one thing to be successful in combat; it takes something very different to be successful in my current life.”

S1E1 explores the effects of trauma and post-traumatic growth on our military veterans with guest Jaymes Poling, the creator of Modern Warrior LIVE, an immersive music and narrative experience that chronicles his journey through three U.S. Army deployments in Afghanistan and subsequent transition back home.