NewsMission Service


TRANSFORMING VETERANS' LIVES: Local vets get honor restored through Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court

Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 20:00:04-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Earlier this month nine local military veterans graduated from Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court. It is an alternate route through the criminal justice system for veterans convicted of non-violent drug-related crimes.

The goal of the 18-to-24-month program is to keep them from re-entering the system, address substance abuse, and get them back in the right direction – all through local mentors and support programs.

  • We here from the people who make the program happen, along with a few of the graduates.
  • “It means the world to me. My family is with me here today — my wife and my children. They weren’t part of my life two years ago.”
  • You can learn more about the Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court and its requirements by clicking here.

I let them tell us the story in their own words in this week’s Mission: Service.

“Here in Douglas County, we were the solo county to start with Veterans Treatment Court, and it took off,” Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator Rob Owens said.

Owens: “It is extremely rewarding to see the transition from when they first come to Veterans Treatment Court when I see them, to the day they graduate and are a completely transformed man or woman.”

“There’s a lot of people who are involved in this process. There’s a lot of investment. A lot that goes into it. Just blessed to be a part of it from all different angles,” Graduate Jason Dotzler (US Marine Corps. 2005-2012) said.

“My honor was restored about 25 years ago, and I’ve worked tirelessly to keep that honor. I have been sober for 9,332 days," Cornerstone Recovery House Owner, and US Navy Veteran, Gary Sharples said.

“After military service sometimes you can feel like you don’t really have direction or nowhere to go,” Graduate (US Army 2011-2014) Adam Dennerlein said.

Officer of the court: “You deserve this, Adam. Your honor has been restored. Finally! Finally!"

Owens: “I believe in change. I know people can change if they really want that, and that’s why I have so much belief in what we do. I tell them all the time, if you don’t believe in yourself, believe that we believe in you. Because our team is going to help you be successful.”

Sharples: “A lot of cases it’s veterans helping veterans and it’s very impressive on how they do what they do. It’s inspiring to me — that’s why I wanted to be a part of this.”

Dotzler: “To do it with veterans was even more impactful.”

Owens: “I check three of the boxes that all these participants have. I’m a veteran, a combat veteran in the United States Marine Corps, I’m in recovery myself, I’ve been sober for 16 years, and I’ve been on probation.”

Dotzler: “It means the world to me. My family is with me here today — my wife and my children. They weren’t part of my life two years ago.”

Owens: “Veterans have given so much to our country that I feel like it’s our duty to try and give back to them when they really needed us. Because when we really needed them, they gave all.”

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