Finding a Path Forward
Ten years of serving veterans will teach you a thing or two about the difficulties that come with service-connected trauma and transitioning back into civilian life. Our UWS team knows full well that when situations get complicated full community collaboration is needed to ensure positive outcomes for our veterans.
Carter R. served in the Marine Corps for seven years. He was discharged in 2004 and began a career with the United State Postal Service. In May 2022, Carter’s long-term girlfriend reached out to UWS seeking assistance. Carter had been arrested in Spartanburg County and was being held on a no-bond status with no legal representation. Due to the facts surrounding the case, a no contact order was in place, making it impossible for the couple to communicate during his incarceration.
As our team became involved and conducted a full needs assessment, it became clear that untreated PTSD and a long history of alcohol misuse contributed to the events leading to his arrest. Carter’s girlfriend understood that getting him out of jail and into treatment was the best path forward and worked with our team to get Carter the help he needed.
Time was of the essence. Each day Carter spent incarcerated threatened his job at the Post Office. We contacted Eric Montalvo of Whalen Montalvo Attorneys at Law, who met with Carter at the Spartanburg County Detention Center and filed a motion for a new bond hearing.
While waiting for the hearing, we informed the Assistant Solicitor of Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) about the case and began the screening process for Carter to enter the program. Sara Morrell, the VA’s Veteran Justice Outreach Coordinator, was notified and assessed the veteran at the detention center.
Carter was given a new bond hearing, which was held virtually. The resulting order granted him a bond, with the stipulations that he attend mental health and substance misuse counseling and that UWS coordinate all case management. Carter would be required to wear an ankle monitor through home detention and have no contact with his girlfriend. This meant he could not return to the home that he owned with her.
Before Carter could be released, multiple things had to be coordinated. Finding a residence that allowed him to be on home detention and developing a treatment plan were critical steps. Fortunately, a vacancy opened with our partner Warriors Once Again (WOA), a transitional residence for veterans in Spartanburg. Our team coordinated the time of release with the detention center to provide transportation to WOA, got Carter established in the residence, and came up with a plan for weekly case management.
Because Carter never enrolled in the VA, did not have a service-connected disability, and had an income level above the required threshold, he did not qualify for VA healthcare coverage for his required treatment. Our team worked with Kelly Burgess, the Veteran Drug & Alcohol Counselor at The Phoenix Center, to conduct an assessment and coordinate an alcohol use treatment plan that would utilize the veteran’s private health insurance.
Rolling into August 2022, Carter has been accepted into Veteran Treatment Court. If completed, this intensive one-year program will effectively expunge his record. Through professional treatment and mentorship, the program is designed to give him the tools he needs to truly make the most of this second chance.
Getting Carter to this point has taken a highly collaborative effort spanning four months and involving a host of community partners. Our team is committed to the work of coordinating that effort to help Carter and veterans like him find healing and a better way forward. Carter still has a long road in front of him, but UWS will be there with him every step of the way.
The name of our client has been changed to protect his identity.