William Trombley of Appleton knows the struggles veterans face when returning to civilian life.
For that reason, Trombley, 51, has been volunteering with the Outagamie County Veterans Treatment Court since its first hearing in July 2012.
“I volunteer as a means to give back, not only to our veterans but to our community,” he said. “In particular, with the Veterans Treatment Court, there was a time when any one of us could have been in the same position as our participants find themselves.”
Trombley served in the United States Army for nine years. He is a school certifying official at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
“When I was a returning veteran, I did not have any idea of which direction to go, where to turn or what was available,” he said. “There have been several veterans since who have assisted me in job searches and employment, benefits as well as being a friend along the way. To know there is someone who is knowledgeable and really does care what happens to our veterans is important.”
Trombley is a volunteer mentor and serves as a role model and advocate to veteran participants. The Outagamie County Veterans Treatment Court is an alternative court program that provides supervision and resources to veterans in the criminal justice system.
“It’s not a free pass or get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Trombley. “Eventually it gets the veteran connected with the tools and resources they need to get them where they need and want to be.”
Trombley believes in the group and the services it can provide veterans.
“It helps to break that cycle that they find themselves in and it gives them alternatives instead of putting them in the mainstream prison,” he said. “I think it’s a means to give people a second chance and not just as a second chance but to help them to get whole again.”
Trombley helped create the Veterans’ Mentor Group Inc. to support the veterans as well as the Veterans Treatment Court.
“We are able to help other veterans who may have fallen through the cracks,” he said. “We will help prevent them from getting involved in the Veterans Treatment Court. We can assist them further.”
Veterans need guidance, advice and direction.
“There are a lot of resources out in the community but they are very limiting or there could be a delay,” Trombley said. “We try to give them information, get them to the people who can help them. I know that I have been there and not knowing where to go or who to turn to can be frustrating.”
Tim Carpenter with Outagamie County Criminal Justice Treatment Services said volunteers like Trombley are vital.
Mr. Trombley, as well as many other mentors, has given countless hours of their time to support fellow veterans in need of assistance,” he said. “His positive attitude and dedication has been a valuable addition to our program. We greatly appreciate Mr. Trombley’s ongoing contribution to our program as well as all of our mentors.”