Veteran's Court Offers Second Chance
From the front page of The Olympian (Olympia, WA) paper:
Excerpt: Ryan Harrington returned home from war a broken man.
A former Army Ranger, he served a combined 18 months in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and lost his best friend in an attack.
Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Harrington, 26, couldn’t hold down any one of a series of eight jobs. Always on edge, he’d binge drink to get a good night’s sleep; otherwise, he’d be up for days. He fired three therapists after exploding in anger when they wanted him to talk about experiences he had locked deep inside.
A man who served and lived by the motto “Rangers lead the way,” Harrington had lost his way in civilian life.
“I thought I was invincible, and I can’t hold a (expletive) job,” said Harrington, who left the Army more than four years ago.
In April 2008, he hit his wife. A neighbor called police, and Harrington was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault. She has since left him.
Harrington will not be locked up as a result of a new Thurston County program that convened for the first time last week.
Thurston County Veterans Court offers a second chance to current and retired service members who commit crimes while struggling with war-related psychological wounds, notably PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. Buffalo, N.Y., started the first such court last year, and numerous communities have followed in its footsteps.