Cook County Veteran’s Court

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CLIFF KELLEY CONVERSING about the success of Veteran’s Court and how it’s making a difference in the lives of the soldiers who participate in the programs left to right: U.S. Marine Veteran’s Court graduate Valerie B. Lazo; her mentor, Attorney Karla Fiaoni; and Supervisor, Problem-Solving Veteran’s Court Attorney Lori Roper.

By Attorney Karla Marie Fiaoni

When Judge William Hooks asks you for a favor in order to help one of his veterans, you just say YES.

That is what Attorney Karla Marie Fiaoni learned when she was called upon to serve as a mentor to Marine veteran Valerie Lazo last year.

Lazo found herself in the Criminal Court System after her Honorable Discharge due to some bad decisions, and PTSD.

She was about to give up on herself and her future, but Judge Hooks and the entire Veteran’s Court team at 26th and California would not let her.

To them, failure is not an option.

With the help of PD supervisor Lori Roper, PD John Kwon and mentor Attorney Karla Marie Fiaoni, Lazo began to put her life back together.

The Veteran’s Court Program has helped many people since its inception.

On Saturday, the three women came together on WVON’s America’s Heroes Group talk show with Cliff Kelley and discussed their adventures, their friendships and their common bond that developed, working together in the program.

The Cook County Veteran’s Court Program has become a model for the rest of the country.

Lazo now volunteers with other veterans in order to give back to her community.

Though she gave the ultimate gift of service by joining the United States Marine Corps, she continues to give back.

Valerie Lazo is an American Hero.

We owe her and her fellow veterans the utmost respect and thanks. We will never be able to repay all those who serve and keep us safe. 

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