Scott Shepard is a veteran who ended up in the Eighth Judicial District veterans’ specialty court. He spent a year and a half going through the intensive treatment program and emerged a new and improved man. He stabilized his life, got housing and is moving forward. At his graduation from the program, presiding veterans’ court Judge Adrianna Escobar and the Nevada state coordinator for the Quilt of Valor Foundation, Victoria Colburn Hall were there to wrap him in a beautiful Quilt of Valor. The stunning, patriotic themed quilt was made by volunteers to show honor and give comfort to veterans who have served our country. Judge Escobar commended the Army veteran and said,” We are all very proud of you and you should be very proud of yourself.”

Victoria Hall is a Blue Star mom; her son spent 24 year in the Marine Corp assault unit. She thanked Scott for his service. She said, “It is very near and dear to my heart to say thank you. Every quilt is made with many hands. It is a privilege to serve, honor and comfort.” She gave a brief overview of the foundation. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. Blue Star moms have a son or daughter in active service. Her son Nathanael’s deployment to Iraq served as the initial inspiration for the foundation.

The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyanne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.

Judge Escobar looks to veterans’ court success stories as inspiration for others going through the program. She said, “Veterans’ court graduates are buying houses, finishing college, getting custody of their children. What they are doing, are not the things they would be doing if they were in prison. They are getting the tools they need to be successful which ultimately makes the community much safer.”

Since Sept. 2012, the veterans’ treatment court has helped veterans who are facing criminal charges as a result of substance abuse. Veterans’ court is one of several Eighth Judicial District specialty courts that save millions of tax dollars by averting repeated incarcerations due to substance abuse offenses and related crimes. Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”