Panhandle of Florida Update
The Panhandle Community Action Team has continued to grow, and the members are actively engaged in the project. A highlight of this quarter for our team was the April meeting, which focused on the topic of justice-involved veterans and issues specific to this population. Speakers for the meeting included the Honorable T. Patt Maney, retired Okaloosa County Judge and Brigadier General (ret), who started the first Veterans Court in the state of Florida, and for whom the Florida Veterans Court Act was named. The meeting also included Mark Ballou, LCSW, DSW, VA Social Worker and member of the Escambia County Veterans Court team, as well as law enforcement leaders from both Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department. A very informative discussion was held between the speakers and the CAT members in attendance.
Our team has also expanded this quarter by adding Dawn Adamek, a Navy veteran, and Jamie Thurman, the founders of Pensacola Survivors, Inc., a local organization established to provide support for survivors of loss by suicide, as well as for those who have struggled with suicidal thoughts themselves. – Kathy Monson, Research Assistant