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Every Friday morning, you can find HVAF Board Member David Certo at Marion County Superior Court 12 in Indianapolis.
In 2015, Judge Certo established a Veterans Court in Indianapolis. According to the Indianapolis Government website:
IVC provides a specialized court docket that focuses on veterans’ and active duty military members’ unique needs. It also creates a therapeutic environment where structured treatment, close court supervision, and supportive interventions address impairments that can lead to criminal activity.
When Judge Certo started working at the Indianapolis Community Court, he learned there wasn’t an established Veterans Court. He knew this would be a necessary addition to the city in order to make it a better community for everyone.
“Veterans typically aren’t dangerous once they leave the service. Their job is to become great civilians, but the military doesn’t do that because that’s not their mission,” Judge Certo said. “Our job as a community is to help veterans get their feet under them again and help them find their way in this big free world that can be really disorienting especially if you’re used to structure and a schedule.”
Judge Certo believes once they can help veterans with whatever they need to get back on track – getting employed, receiving food and housing, going through addiction treatment, etc. – then they can be great successes in the civilian world just as they were in the military.
HVAF works alongside IVC in several different ways. IVC connects their veterans to HVAF to receive case management, essential items, housing, employment, and other necessary resources. We also allow the veterans who need to complete community service the opportunity to volunteer in the community center.
“Really the community has rallied to help. HVAF is an enormous help for us – especially for housing resources or things like volunteering, food from the pantry, and understanding and connecting with benefits,” Judge Certo said. “And that’s really great.”
Although not a veteran himself, Judge Certo said he loves the opportunity to work for heroic people who chose to do hard things that he chose not to. He encourages everyone to serve veterans in whatever capacity they can.
“I got out of bed this morning because I wanted to help veterans and make the community safer. I just challenge everyone else to figure out how we how we make sure the community is safer as well.”