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6 graduate in 1st class of jail-alternative program for veterans - abc27 WHTM

6 graduate in 1st class of jail-alternative program for veterans

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Six veterans, the first to complete a new Dauphin County jail-alternative program, graduated today. 

Each graduate received a letter from Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) thanking them for their service and wishing them a brighter future. Each graduate also received a plaque from Judge Bruce F. Batton, who supervises the court.

He is a Vietnam War Veteran himself. 

"He told me, 'Pamela, you are my guinea pig and you will succeed,'" said graduate and Navy veteran Pamela Arsenault during today's ceremony.

The Veterans' Court was established last January and is designed to get those who have served the help they need instead of sending them to prison.

Arsenault is a self-described alcoholic who broke down in tears throughout her speech. 

"I will always be an alcoholic and I must always remember that or I may fall again," she said. "I have come to learn that I can make a difference, but only if I continue to make the right choices," she said chocking back tears. 

In addition to Arsenault, former Marine Vincent Moses, former Marine Jeffrey Ford, former Army Reserves & National Guardsman William Staley, former Army National Guardsman Robert Biffart and former member of the Navy Muhammad Abdul-Aliyy graduated from Dauphin County Veterans' Court.

The six graduates, all of whom were honorably discharged and qualify for services at the VA Medical Center, successfully completely a treatment program that ran at least 270 days.

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