District Court Judge Lou Olivera, who presides over a court for veterans with mental health issues in Cumberland County, North Carolina, knew that Sgt. Joseph Serna had been through a lot. The former Special Forces soldier did four combat tours in Afghanistan over a nearly two-decades long career with the U.S. Army. In those years, the Fayetteville Observer reported Serna was almost killed three times.
Serna’s years in combat earned him three Purple Hearts and other military accolades; but like many combat vets, he’s been unable to leave the battlefeld behind him. Since returning to the U.S., the decorated Green Beret has sufered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and been charged with driving under the infuence.
He entered the veteran’s treatment court program in Cumberland County, N.C., over which state District Court Judge Lou Olivera presides. Serna has fought to stay sober, appearing before Olivera 25 times – this latest time for driving under the infuence. Olivera sentenced Serna to one day in jail. But here comes the crunch! The judge drove Serna to the jail in a neighbouring county himself! Once in his cell, Olivera came and sat down beside him. Someone locked the door.
The two passed the night of April 13th trading stories of their experiences in the military. Serna said,“It was more of a father-son conversation. It was personal.” “They have worn the uniform and we know they can be contributing members of society,” Olivera said. “We just want to get them back there.”
Source: Christian Headlines
Bible Study: Isaiah 63:9
PRAISE God for a judge who can share the sentence and pain of this damaged soldier. PRAY that Serna may fnd the peace of Jesus and for hurting veterans around the globe.