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Carbon County veterans' court graduates first participants
Standard-Speaker - 12/13/2018
Dec. 13--JIM THORPE -- Poor decisions led to two arrests and three hospitalizations for Corey Peruch.
"I never wanted to hurt anyone except myself," the Palmerton man said.
But Peruch celebrated 899 days of sobriety Wednesday, the day he graduated from Carbon County Veterans Treatment Court.
"I know that I would be dead today if it weren't for Veterans Treatment Court," said Peruch, a U.S. Air Force captain with more than eight years of service.
Peruch, along with Edward Dubosky and Jay Dalrymple, were the first graduates of the veterans' treatment court. They accepted certificates of completion Wednesday evening in the Carbon County Courthouse before elected officials, family members and others enrolled in the treatment court.
The county established the court in 2017 to address the growing number of veterans in the criminal justice system. It sees veterans who are homeless, unemployed and suffering from addictions or mental illnesses. The court intervenes by providing individualized counseling and support through the five-step program.
It's a way to not only help those who served the country, but to promote public safety and reduce recidivism, said Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein.
"We cannot express how proud we are of your accomplishments," Nothstein told the men. "Today proves that specialty courts work."
Richmond Parsons, the county's chief of adult probation, said the program works for those who are dedicated.
"It's not an easy program. There is a lot of hard work," he said.
The court is an effort among the Court of Common Pleas, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, county commissioners, Carbon County Correctional Facility, Carbon County Adult Probation Office, Carbon County Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Dalrymple, of Brodheadsville, served two years in the Army infantry. He remembers suffering from depression, anxiety and impulsive behavior.
"I had no self worth at all," said Dalrymple, who was homeless for a time.
Through the court, Dalrymple said he learned how to curtail his negative thoughts and process them in a healthy way. Therapy sessions provided him with the tools he needs to cope.
Dubosky, of Summit Hill, also went through some rough patches that landed him in trouble. He served in the Navy for almost a decade and earned quite a few medals and awards.
Carbon County Judge Joseph J. Matika, who presented the diplomas, explained that Dubosky wasn't going to talk about his past.
"I knew he was an accomplished musician and I challenged him to write a song for graduation," Matika recalled.
Dubosky pulled an acoustic guitar from a case and sat in the front of the court to perform "A Happy Courthouse."
"I know I have a home. I know I'm not alone. I have a happy courthouse by my side," Dubosky sang.
Matika noted that the court was established with a mission of bringing veterans home again.
"Welcome home," he said.
The event brought participation from the Pamerton Veterans Organization's color guard; vocalist Mylee Hauser, who sang patriotic songs; and Chaplain Gil Henry, who led prayers.
Following the ceremony, one man enrolled in the court congratulated Perich.
"I hit rock bottom," the man admitted.
Perich said that he understood, and promised to support the man in any way he could.
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