The NVF has long been a resource for incarcerated Veterans as they transition back into civilian society. Several of our best Lifeline for Vets counselors came to the NVF as their first employer after release. Among them, James “Sneaky” White, now director of our Prison Outreach program.
White watched Vets struggle to get the tests and evaluations required for their disability compensation claims. The VA doesn’t have the staff to travel to all the correctional facilities. The Vets are too scattered.
In June 2019, discussion began to create a Vets-only yard at Soledad. Not only would this bring Vets together so the VA could reach them, it would create a unique situation to foster real rehabilitation. The brotherhood military service fosters is built on the values of honor, courage, and commitment. The Vets-only Yard offers elements of the Vet-to-Vet model developed by NVF Founder Shad Meshad and used in Vet Centers nationally.
The NVF supported the idea by contacting officials in the correctional system. At the helm of our effort was James “Sneaky” White, who emphasized the low recidivism rate for Veterans in community while incarcerated.
We got our happy ending when we received an invitation for the May 28th ribbon-cutting ceremony in Soledad for the nation’s first Veterans Program Facility. Shad and Sneaky will attend. Among other dignitaries also attending will be Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen. It’s fitting that this step forward happens on Memorial Day weekend.