Three things have helped SSG (R) Daniel Mullen in his recent journey: taking responsibility for his actions, family and God.
Mullen graduated from the 11th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court with a ceremony held at the Fairbury American Legion Home this week.
“Without giving God all that I had bearing down on me, I couldn’t have done this,” Mullen told the crowd of supporters.
He considers this a great program and is glad it exists for his military brothers and sisters.
Judge Charles Feeney acknowledged it takes a team to make the program work. There is no other veterans treatment court which encompasses an entire circuit. Some veterans find themselves involved with the justice system when they return from serving our country, which is why this initiative was created.
“I am fortunate enough to be the judge that gets to preside,” said Feeney.
The mentor-oriented treatment program reintegrates veterans into the community utilizing available services. Since the treatment court team includes many veterans, this is something near and dear to them.
“You’ve been a pleasure to work with,” VTC Officer Heidi Zeidenstein told Mullen. “I have drug court as well so this is refreshing for me to have veterans.”
Zeidenstein noted Mullen is always willing to help other veterans and seems to have a strong support system with family and friends.
Mullen was presented with a challenge coin, which each one of the court graduates receives. The coin, which was created by a previous participant, has an eagle on one side which says “home of the free because of the brave” and the other side portrays a war zone and states “no one left behind.”
“This coin reflects a journey in pursuit of a mission,” explained Feeney, who handed Mullen a signed order that his case was dismissed.
Debbie Smith with Quilts of Valor presented Mullen with a quilt intended to comfort our wounded as many service members return with unseen wounds. The idea is to bring comfort, peace and healing to anyone receiving it.
“We want this quilt to bring you a response from our hearts,” Smith said. “This quilt is meant to say thank you for your sacrifice.”
Members of the McLean County Sheriff’s Department presented the colors during Tuesday’s ceremony while Chief Judge Mark Fellheimer gave the welcome and orders of the day. Daniel Mullen Sr. of the American Legion led the Chaplain’s Prayer.
Participants in the 11th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court include the circuit judges, McLean County Sheriff’s Department, probation departments, State’s Attorney’s Offices, Public Defender’s Offices, Veterans Assistance Commission, Veterans Administration, Bloomington Police Department, Normal Police Department and veteran mentors.