Baschab-Haslacker pledges support to veterans

Mary in front of the Colbert County Courthouse looking at her great uncle Hollis Gaisser’s name on the monument to Colbert County heroes who fought and died in WWI

An Open Letter To The Citizens of Colbert County From Mary Baschab-Haslacker

As the People’s Candidate for Colbert County District Judge, I pledge to help our military heroes. Veterans courts are used across the country to assist veterans coping with combat trauma. Colbert County can do the same. As District Judge, I will do everything within my power to establish a thriving Veterans Court for Colbert County citizens.

We, in Colbert County, are a patriotic and freedom-loving people. We honor those who fought for our freedoms with school events, monuments, American flags waving in front yards, an active American Legion, and a new headquarters for the Marine Corps League Conley Detachment. Yet, we can do more. Veterans returning home from deployment fight an unseen battle: a battle with mental illness directly related to the sacrifices they made during their service. These mental health issues affect their personal lives, resulting in devastating outcomes, including suicide.

It is our duty as Americans, enjoying the freedoms they volunteered to protect, to find every possible way to reach out to and help our veterans. The courts are uniquely equipped to do just that. Veterans with untreated mental illness, difficulties returning to civilian life, and inability to navigate the complex process for obtaining benefits, can find themselves facing criminal charges, most often for committing nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. In Colbert County, these offenses are prosecuted in the District Court. The District Court Judge can help identify these veterans and provide them access to the assistance they need.

With the cooperation of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, mental health experts, Veterans Affairs Officers, and the community, the Court can assist veterans adjusting to civilian life. This can include mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, primary care treatment, housing, education, vocational training, family counseling, and employment. Volunteer veteran mentors advocate for and walk side-by-side with each individual defendant as they work through the program. Colbert County has the will and the resources available for a successful Veterans Court. There are many men and women who are willing to volunteer their time and talents to make this dream come true. As District Judge, I will do my part to realize this dream and to establish a thriving Veterans Court to Colbert County mental health experts.

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