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‘It’s a good place to be’

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Coffee Co. Veterans Court celebrates first graduate


John Coffelt


In the third-floor courtroom of the Coffee County Justice Center, a small gathering of veterans, mentors and court administrators celebrated recently the first graduate of Coffee County Veterans Treatment Court, a program that aims to rehabilitate former service personnel who have lost their way.

Receiving the distinction is Corbin Rosetti, who has been a 20-month participant in the program.

“Corbin quickly rose to the top,” said Coffee County Circuit Court Judge Craig Johnson.

“He has that infectious shy smile that makes people warm to him. But he has a good life story. He has turned his life around.”

Coffee County Veterans Court Director Mike Lewis, from left, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell and Judge Craig Johnson congratulate program graduate Corbin Rosetti at the Coffee County Justice Center.
-Staff Photo by John Coffelt

Johnson told those gathered that Rosetti has maintained a good job and has risen to a supervisory position.

“He’s really helped this program prove its worth. I have great confidence that Corbin will continue throughout the rest of his life to be a productive citizen and a good veteran,” Johnson said.

Rosetti said that he was nervous initially, but that as time went on, doubt gave way to trust.

“As I maintained the program and cooperated with it, even though I struggled at first, I come to realize that the accountability that the program gave me helped me build on top of that.

“If you guys (speaking to fellow veterans court participants) keep going on, you’ll be in this place. It’s a good place to be, because I’m a lot better off now than I was 20 months ago,” he said.

Director of Coffee County Drug Court Foundation Mike Lewis compared the accomplishment to a homecoming.

“We’re excited to celebrate the fact that you restored your family, you restored place in our community. We say, ‘Welcome home.’”

Each veteran in the program is paired with a mentor, something like an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. Glenn Bennett was Rosetti’s mentor.

“He made the choice that he was going to better himself, not only for himself but for his family,” Bennett said

“He’s done that.”


Veterans court gets its start in Buffalo

Following the model of the first veterans court that emerged  from the Buffalo, New York Drug Court, where the presiding judge identified veterans in his court who responded well when they were paired with other veterans to assist with their recovery, the Coffee County Drug Court saw a similar situation here.

“In the fall of 2016, the Veterans Treatment Court Team completed training funded by a grant followed by an additional grant in 2017 to visit the Founding Veterans Treatment Court in Buffalo,” Lewis said.

“Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services submitted a grant request on behalf of the Coffee County Veterans Treatment Court resulting in three years of funding assistance from the federal government.”

Overseeing the local veterans court are veteran and Judge Craig Johnson; veteran and Public Defender John Nichol; Assistant District Attorney General Jennifer Craighead; veteran and treatment specialist Everett Jackson; veteran and probation officer Andrea Cordova; Coffee County Deputy Loretta Tankersley; veteran and veteran service officer Gene Stillings; VA veterans justice officer Amy Montgomery, veteran and veterans justice officer Rudy Ragnauth, and Lewis.

For more information on the Coffee County Veterans Court, call the Coffee County Drug Court at 931-723-3051.