PORTAGE | On the surface, Noah Hamilton looked like a success.
A college professor, it wasn't until Hamilton, a Marine Corps veteran who served four years in Vietnam, was stopped by police 18 months ago for driving under the influence, that he had a chance to get his life in order.
Hamilton, 64, of Kouts, was directed to the then new Porter County Veterans Treatment Court.
"It gave me back my life. It reconnected me with relationships, with my life," Hamilton said. He graduated last year and is now a mentor for other veterans who have been sent to the court.
The two-year-old program, run by Porter Superior Court Judge Julia Jent, was lauded Monday during a stop by the All Rise America! On the Road for Recovery. Six additional veterans were also recognized for completing the program.
The veterans treatment court, Jent said, is a program that addresses the underlying causes and underlying issues when veterans are arrested. It finds alternatives to incarceration while holding them responsible for their actions and keeping the community safe.
The All Rise America! On the Road for Recovery is being sponsored by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and is on a month-long tour stopping at 25 specialty courts programs.
"We are visiting communities that are doing it right," said Christopher Deutsch, director of communication for NADCP. "There is no better example of the community getting it right than right here today."
Deutsch told the group gathered under a tent on the grounds of the North Porter County Government Complex that his group works to encourage courts such as this to help people in need of the services they provide.
Deutsch and his group were escorted to the ceremony by the Indiana Patriot Guard Riders. The Portage High School JROTC also participated. Speakers also included Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Indiana Appeals Court Chief Justice Margret Robb, Indiana State Sen. Karen Tallian, Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper, Portage Police Chief Troy Williams, Porter County Sheriff David Lain and others.