NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Corporal Kyle Reynolds thanks Hamilton County Veterans Court for help fighting addiction and mental health issues.
Cpl. Reynolds is just one of many who has the program to thank for getting his life straightened out. He was arrested five times in the first three years after returning from active duty in Afghanistan.
Reynolds was involved in a near-fatal car accident after he returned from overseas. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and partial blindness. After the accident, his substance abuse escalated.
The former U.S. Marine Corps gunsmith was charged with disorderly conduct and felony assault on a police officer and faced prison time. He was assigned to Veterans Court in Hamilton County. They put him in touch with the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration.
Reynolds took part in the program and was required to complete an evidence-based treatment plan and attend regular court appearances. Participants are tested for drug and alcohol use.
Reynolds said this program is able to put veterans back together.
“The structure and the accountability is everything that a struggling veteran needs,” Cpl. Reynolds said. “It’s not going to be what they want and they’re not going to want this. But they need it and they deserve it and this team is going to make sure that you get the help you deserve. Whether it’s getting you a shuttle to the VA for services or the classes they teach throughout veterans court.”
The program was designed in 2016 after the court system noticed an uptick in substance abuse and crime by those previously in the military.
“The biggest benefit I think that happens to the vets is they get a second chance,” Hamilton County Superior Court Judge William Hughes said. “They get to feel like they have really rehabilitated.”
It provides access to a continuum of medical, mental, alcohol and drug treatment, and rehabilitation services. Twenty-five people have graduated so far in the program’s first three years.
Reynolds has been sober for six years and is living on a disability pension he earned through his service. He purchased his first home in Pendleton and volunteers as a counselor at his church’s youth group.