Three Grayson County men graduate from North Texas Veterans Court

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) -- Three Grayson County veterans graduated from the North Texas Regional Veterans Court Friday morning.

When a veteran is charged with a criminal offense connected to their military service, this two year program gives them a second chance.

Instead of calling it a graduation, Marine veteran and North Texas Veterans Court Judge John Roach called it a commencement ceremony to symbolize new beginnings.

"Once they get to a point where they start turning their ship around, then you can start seeing the changes in them over time. And I certainly did with these three guys," Roach said.

Roach said many veterans are still fighting battles after returning from service.

"And they have issues and they don't handle it the right way, and as a result they have addiction problems and stuff like that. And so they find themselves in the criminal justice system," Roach said.

Veterans must be general or honorably discharged from the military and have a mental illness proven to be tied to the crime they committed to qualify.

Sexual crime and aggravated assault cases are not accepted.

Once accepted into the program, they get a treatment plan catered to their struggle, which they have to follow to the letter.

"Worked intensively through therapies to address their needs on their PTSD, addiction treatment and things like that," Roach said.

Navy veteran and mentor Jerry Wrenn met with them once a week.

"They didn't fall down in the night and they're not going to pick themselves up in the morning, it takes time," Wrenn said.

Army veteran Colt Floyd was one of the first graduates in Grayson County last year.

After coming home from Afghanistan, he got a DWI and was sent to veterans court.

"You know your charges are expunged and dismissed, and you kind of get a fresh start at life," Floyd said.

"You're being given the chance to be proud once again, so let's do it," Wrenn said.

When the veterans complete the program, their charges are expunged and they walk out with a clean slate.