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Local veteran gets new dog tags instead of jail time


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George Dawson graduated from Veterans Court Dec. 17. Dawson avoided jail time by going through the diversion program.

When local veteran George Dawson was arrested in 2013 for driving on a suspended license, he was homeless and struggling with addiction.

On Wednesday, Dawson graduated from Veterans Court, a jail diversion program that kept him out of prison and got him treatment.

Dawson got a new set of dog tags when he graduated.

“I’m proud of ‘em, I really am,” Dawson said. “I wished I still had my dog tags from when I was in service, but unfortunately I don’t. But I’m just as proud of these as well because I’m a vet and it’s from vets. I don’t know what tell you. I’m dumbfounded. I’m lost for words.

Dawson and two other veterans graduated from a program designed to keep them out of prison. Ninth Circuit Judge Jerry Brewer said ninety five percent of veterans who complete the program don’t get arrested again.

“A lot of it’s got to do with the fact that you’re vets,” Dawson said. “You had that training in your past and somebody just needed to ignite it again. And that marvelous group of people over there were able to do that. They just reminded you of what you were once upon a time.”

Dawson will speak at a conference next month on Veterans Court. Check here for a deeper look at the growing use of Veterans Courts in Florida.


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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »

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