Friends of the North Oakland Veterans Treatment Court in Clarkston, MI

"Veteran strength through support"

Whether you need assistance getting to court, medical appointments, fundrasisers, or just someone to lean on, the Friends of the North Oakland County Veteran’s Treatment Court have your back. (Credit: Judge Kelley Kostin)

As a district court judge in North Oakland County, I participate in running a specialty court to help veterans in trouble get back on track to become law-abiding, productive members of society. Helping these veterans may be one of the most difficult, but rewarding, parts of my career. The Friends of the North Oakland Veterans Treatment Court is a group of veterans from all branches of the service who act as mentors to our veterans in trouble. These wonderful men and women donate their time to help their brothers and sisters in need and crisis situations. They perform unparalleled acts of kindness for one another.

The Friends of the North Oakland County Veterans Court receive funds from a charity event. That’s one big check! (Credit: Judge Kelley Kostin)

Stories About Friends of the North Oakland Veterans Treatment Court

Each participant in our therapy court is assigned a mentor to take them under their wing. If that participant doesn’t have transportation, they get him a ride. If he doesn’t have a place to live, they find housing. They ensure that they are attending their therapy, 12-step meetings, and VA appointments. They literally take away any excuse that the participant may have to not get better. The Friends have personally transported participants who are in crisis to the hospital to make sure that they don’t harm themselves. They have included participants in their own family functions to let these men and women know that they are not alone.

When a veteran is accepted into our therapy court, I always ask them if they have support, and have the mentor stand. Every mentor tells that veteran that they have their back. It is a very moving and emotional moment for both the veteran and the mentor. Our mentors come from our community and have served in every branch of service, from every era dating back to the Vietnam War. They all have special skills and services to offer, and gladly do so when needed. Once a year, our Friends participate in a fundraiser to help the foundation that supports our Veteran’s Treatment Court. They have done so well in our community that they’re now going to other treatment courts in the area to offer assistance there too.

These men and women live by their creed and never ask for recognition, only what else can they do to help. I personally think they are the kindest community of people that I have ever met. One of the biggest compliments that is bestowed upon our mentor program, is the fact that many of our graduates from our Veteran’s Treatment Program go on to become mentors themselves!

The Friends often work with therapy dogs to assist in treatment and recovery. But there’s play too! A few good boys put on some party tricks. (Credit: Judge Kelley Kostin)