This is a story that deserves to go VIRAL for more than one reason. A Green Beret who was awarded the Purple Heart not once, or twice, but THREE times was sentenced in court to spend a night in jail for violating his probation and lying about a urine test.
First…lets make this clear, as you might be already aware of, PTSD is real. Keep that in mind.
This veteran’s name is Joe Serna, and he as you may have guessed struggles with PTSD and has been victim to it since arriving back home. The judge who presided over his case in court, Judge Lou Olivera, is also a veteran himself.
He understands it. He knew very well of the pains of anguish and emotion that Serna was dealing with.
Because of this, he drove the Green Beret to the jailhouse himself, and went even further to ask if he could spend the night there with him so he wouldn’t have to be alone in his cell.
Judge Lou Olivera, a Gulf War veteran, is a district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County, North Carolina. He had to sentence Green Beret Joe Serna to one night in jail for a probation violation.
Serna, a recipient of three Purple Hearts, is retired from the military and is having a hard time adjusting back to life after experiencing the battle of war in Afghanistan. Through his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the issues he was having mentally.
But as Serna entered the jail cell, the painful memories of losing companions began to flood his mind and he felt this would be the longest night of his life. Anxiety gripped him and flashbacks began to play in his mind as the door closed behind him.
His scariest moment was when he was riding with three other soldiers along a creek when the road gave way, and the vehicle plunged into the water. The truck started filling with water and “all hope was lost.”
The judges action have been unheard of in the past and when he asked the administrator if he could stay overnight, the admin was shocked. The story is told that Serna was not having a good night and when the jail cell door opened and he saw the judge standing there with a smile on his face…he had one thought.
He shared that thought with us.
“When he came in, I knew everything was going to be okay,” recalled Serna.
That evening was spent talking about their families, their lives, and their service to our country. The judge knew, that Serna needed to deal with the consequences of his actions, but he also knew that he refused to let him do it alone.
The best way to help others, is to jump in the trenches with them.
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