Veterans and community leaders came together Monday to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Veterans Court in Palm Beach County.
The treatment court helps criminal offenders who are veterans by tackling underlying mental health and substance abuse issues rather than solely focusing on a punishment.
The voluntary treatment includes job search assistance and mentorship from other veterans.
Adjutant General Michael Calhoun with the Florida National Guard believes these mentors are a critical liaison between struggling veterans and the outside world.
"I believe the average citizen does not understand the stress that a deployment brings, that being in the service brings," he said. "So the true value of the veterans court is that they have mentors who have walked in the same shoes."
When Palm Beach County's Veterans Court was created, there were only about fifty others like it.
Currently, there are over 300 veterans courts across the country.