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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
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September 11, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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September 11, 2014

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Thursday, Sept. 11,2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-15 e continued from page A-1 One day, he heard a report from a local informant about an improvised explosive device (IED) that threatened American troops. As soon as he.warned the troops about it, he heard a boom. "I knew in my gut it wasn't good," he said. Several soldiers were killed in the blast. "I still hold that one very close and feel guilt," he said. Hutchings recounted other serious attacks, including the time his armored vehicle hit an IED. "It's amazing any of us in the truck survived," he said. "I get real hazy in my memory." The truck's armor was destroyed by the blast; its run-flat fires were flat- tened, he said. Soon after, Michael Hutchings was diagnosed with a traumatic brain in- jury. Ai r being transferred back to the United States, he was diagnosed with PTSD. Michael Hutch- ings told officers he couldn't drive when he came back home because he would speed and drive er- ratically. He had debilitating panic at- tacks while driving and in grocery stores. Twice, he said, he pulled a knife on co- workers before real- izing what he was doing. John Hutchings said his son has been lucky to avoid the worst-case scenario for veterans with PTSD -- confronta- tions with law enforcement. With the help of 14 medications and therapy, Michael Hutchings said he is living more normally with PTSD. "My goal in working with my dad is bringing awareness," he said. guy like that, ex- cept be his friend," Davis said. "Every- body else has turned their backs on them. There's some people we can help, some people we can't help." Davis served in Davis the Navy from 1964 to 1967 in Guam on a ship that transported Marines to training exercises before they went to Vietnam. Davis said he got a glimpse of the horrors of war. "I lost a lot of friends, but I have no combat experience, no boots on the ground," he said. The program is voluntary, but three mentors are already signed up. "I have plenty of guys who want to step up, be trained to be mentors," Da- vis said. Davis is also working with fellow veterans in the area and with Harris Haertel, coordinator for Mason County's Drug Court, to cre- ate a veterans' court in the county. Like other thera- peutic courts, veter- ans' courts are de- signed to divert mis- demeanor offenders through counseling programs rather than sentence them to jail or prison time. For example, in Mason County drug '=We don't need to criminalize veterans or criminalize the mentally ill," John Hutchings, crisis intervention trainer for law enforcement court, offenders are required to plead guilty to enter the program. Once in drug court, they must get a job or go to college, go to counseling and attend regular court dates to monitor their progress. Afar graduating from the pro- gram, their conviction is expunged. In December, Davis traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the Vet- John Hutchings leads crisis,inter- eran Mentor Boot Camp sponsored by vention training, which, in part, teaches Justice for Vets, an organization that law-enforcement officers how to recog- advocates for veterans' courts and men- nize the signs of PTSD and hell ter, tor programs. : ans suffering with the same problems Because they are so specialized, as his son. veterans' courts are better able to re- "We don't need to criminalize veter- spend to veterans' issues, according to ans or criminalize the mentally ill," he justiceforvets.org. said. Davis said he and other proponents of Salisbury said more law-enforcement the veterans' court plan to make a pre- officers should receive training on men- sentation to the Mason County Board of tal illnesses such as PTSD. Commissioners on the feasibility of such "I'm trying to get ahead of this issue," a program in the county. he said. "I'm very focused on veterans, "The most effective alternative to but I'm also focused on working hard in incarceration is peer-on-peer therapy," Mason County with my command staff Davis said. to allow us to better deal with anyone who is struggling with mental health Mason County's one-tenth of 1 per- issues. I'd love to be able to have all cent sales tax for mental-health and my guys go through this training, but substance-abuse funds a contract with there's no funding for that." Mental Health Professionals for veter- ans' case management. A Mason County program still in its The case manager works with veter- infancy aims to bring together recently ans and their families to help with fam- arrested veterans with veteran mentors ily and personal well-being, education, in thecommunity, financial management, and employ- Davis is leading the effort to create ment and career management, accord- the program, ing to Mason County. "If you're dealing with veterans and Qualifying clients can receive these you're not a veteran, you have no sway," services for free. To set up an appoint- Davis, 68, said. "I try to match combat ment with Case Manager Leon Hug- vets with combat vets." gins-Richard, call 451-0900. When booking someone into the Ma-The Mason County Veterans' Adviso- son County Jail, officers ask the suspect ry Board oversees the county's Veterans' if they are a veteran. Assistance Fund. Honorably discharged If the suspects answers yes, Salis- veterans who meet guidelines are each bury said, the Sheriffs Office calls Da- eligible for $600 per year for help with vis, who finds another veteran who can past due rent or mortgage, past due util- offer to be a friend and mentor, ities, food, firewood or propane. In July, seven veterans were booked Veterans' Service Offices are located into the Mason County Jail, and in Au- in Shelton at Shelton Memorial Hall at gust, eight were booked. 210 W. Franklin St. or call 426-4546 Davis is currently mentoring a Viet- and in Belfair at North Mason County nam veteran still suffering from PTSD. Resource at 140 NE state Route 300 or "There's very little I cap do for a call 552-2303. .. Lookin9 for a Home City of Shelton Animal Shelter Adoptions cost $75, which Tuesday through Friday. The include vaccine, wormer, spay shelter is closed Saturday / neuter and a $10 city license, through Monday. New dogs are brought in all Dogs available for adoption the time. Call 427-7503 or visit include: the shelter at 902 W. Pine St. Pit Bull M 3 yrs. Dogs can be viewed at Shelton. petfinder.com. Shepherd/Lab Mix M 4 yrs. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kitten Rescue This time of the year our kitten season has finally arrived. We have a small steady supply of healthy and friendly kittens just waiting for that purrrfect indoor home. For more information go to our website kittenresq.net or call us at 360-426-2455 or 360- 584-0594. Lucy Pit Bull Terrier & Australian Shepherd Mix Adult Female * Medium This beautiful blue eyed young girl is Lucy. She is a very special fun loving girl who needs a home where someone will continue her training with lots of love. She knows how to roll over, sit, high 5 and just be a lady unless you toss a Frisbeei then the game is on. Lucy tells usshe really does not like cats, so if you have cats, she is not for you. Must have a 6 foot fence and lots of time to spend with her. She is a real love bug. To meet Lucy please e-mail thedoghouse309 l@hotmail.com (360) 432-3091 We are located in Shelton Because they're part of your family.., you want the best care for your pets. fm, H .forr ..... ........ 81 SE. Walker Park Rd. Shelton (360) 426-1840