One week ago, I had the honor of attending and speaking at the ceremony for the first group of graduates of the Veterans Treatment Court program.

Like everything else, COVID had delayed the celebration for a year until we could safely gather in a small group to congratulate two of the individuals that had successfully worked through their challenges and emerged healthy and happy.

As part of the recognition, the graduates were presented with beautiful Quilts of Valor.  If you’ve not heard of this program, the quilts are handmade by amazing volunteers and given to people who have been impacted by war.  The quilts are meant to wrap the recipient up in comfort and security.

I suspect there was not a dry eye at the event as two veterans were wrapped in their well-deserved quilts. It was a powerful moment.  And a moment that was hard won by two courageous veterans who fought a great fight with the forces that brought them in contact with our court system.

As I mentioned in my remarks, they were there for us when we needed their military service and it was now our time to be there for them when they needed support and care.

My sincere thanks to Judge Sussman for creating the new court and to Judge McCann for his current leadership of the program.  My thanks, also, to those from District Court staff for their dedication and commitment to this important work.

I invite you to enjoy this video of what was an uplifting and moving ceremony.

Before I close, I want to share an amazing photo with you from a recent DEM-managed vaccination event.  We make it clear to those coming to the events that dogs must be left at home (unless they are a support animal).  I guess we need to add a “no kangaroos” clause to our guidelines!

Take a look at this little Joey nestled in the arms of Mike Halliday, Communications public information specialist for DEM.  Incredible!

Speaking of vaccinations, I received my first dose last Saturday.  I’ve visited most of the DEM-managed events over the last several months but this time it was personal!

I got my vaccine for my health, for my family’s health and for the health of our community.  My thanks to the tireless staff and volunteers who are working so diligently to get as many jabs in arms as possible. They are saving lives!

On that note, it seems appropriate to close by acknowledging National Public Health Week!  We definitely have a much deeper appreciation for our public health professionals and their important work to keep our community healthy.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend,