By Kirk Alkire
I was invited by Anchorage District Court Judge David Wallace to sit in his courtroom and watch while he administered Veterans Court.
Veterans Court is a specialized court designed to facilitate the rehabilitation of eligible veterans who are charged with criminal offenses.
No doubt at all, each and every veteran present absolutely broke the law, was charged and is being held accountable for their actions. The difference is, they all have served in the military, and for many, their service included exposer to combat. For some, this exposer makes it difficult to readjust to civilian life causing them to suffer a few set backs at times.
What I not only heard, but saw was an incredible amount of care, encouragement, and inspiration delivered by Judge Wallace. He knew the important and personal details about every single veteran standing before him, and engaged each of them on those details. “Tell me about your new job? How is your ankle coming along? Finals and graduation are coming soon, great job balancing your undergrad work with the courts requirements.” It was personal, more importantly it was compassionate.
Judge Wallace’s court is providing veterans with an incredible opportunity to better themselves, their families, their communities, their futures.
As I watched each of the 20 or so veterans approach his bench (one being a member of my last Battalion), they all held their heads high. Before each veteran was dismissed though, the judge led his entire courtroom in a “Round of Applause” for the progress each had made since their last visit.
I stayed afterwards to thank and shake the hand of the judge and his entire courtroom staff for all they’re doing to better the lives of every veteran that enters his courtroom. Each of them are absolutely making a difference, and it shows.
Well done Your Honor!