This story is worth sharing. Military vet Joe Serna [former US Army Green Beret] has PTSD. He served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Serna faced a very scary situation. Serna was driving along with his friends and something terrible happened. Serna was the only survivor of a terrible car accident that killed all of his friends except him. The accident was tragic and terrible. Serna’s vehicle was safely going along the road when out of nowhere, the road gave in and the vehicle went into a river — and the water filled up to Serna’s chin. Serna managed to survive but his friends perished. Because of that horrific accident, Joe Serna is afraid of closed spaces and is claustrophobic. Serna said “In Afghanistan, it was me and three other guys on the truck, really good friends. And I had an accident where our truck flipped all the way over into a river.” Serna and his fellow brothers-in-arms were trapped in the vehicle as the water began to fill the vehicle. The water rose from Joe’s ankles all the way to his waist and eventually up to his chin. Serna says the air was filled with diesel fumes and left them struggling for any air they could get. Serna said that while in the vehicle as the water rose, one of his fellow troops said ‘I can’t feel my lips, I can’t feel my arms.’ Serna then said he heard his friend “gasping” and Serna eventually added that he “was the only survivor” of that horrible vehicle incident. That’s just one of the traumatic things that Serna went through in Afghanistan & Iraq. There is no telling what other horrors Serna has seen or been through while bravely serving our country overseas.
When sentenced to a night in a small jail cell, Joe Serna must have thought it would be hard being in that closed space for so long. I have no clue what was going through Serna’s head when he found out he would be spending the night in a very quaint jail cell, but I think you can take a guess. So Serna found out he was going to jail for the night .. That’s when Judge Olivera stepped up and did something SHOCKING.
A North Carolina judge, Lou Olivera, sentenced former US Army Green Beret Joe Serna to one night in jail over a petty crime he committed.
Judge Lou Olivera is a Gulf War Veteran and is a district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County. So he obviously understands the struggles that veterans can sometimes face. Liftable reported that “Serna, a recipient of three Purple Hearts, is retired from the military and is having a hard time adjusting back to life after experiencing the battle of war in Afghanistan. Through his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the issues he was having mentally.”
Liftable also reported that “This path of destruction soon lead him to the Veterans Treatment Court which helps struggling veterans get back on track. This is where Serna meet Olivera.
“When Joe first came to my court, he was so tight,” Olivera says. “His shoulders were so tense. Over time, you could see his shoulders relax.”
When Serna lied in court about a urine test, Olivera knew he had to hold him accountable for his actions. He sentenced him to spend the night in jail.
But as Serna entered the jail cell, the painful memories of losing companions began to flood his mind and he felt this would be the longest night of his life. Anxiety gripped him and flashbacks began to play in his mind as the door closed behind him.
Without telling Serna what he planned to do, Olivera drove him to the jail and asked the jail administrator if he could spend the night with Serna. The administrator had never heard of such a thing.
“Joe was a good soldier and he’s a good man,” Olivera said. “I wanted him to know I had his back. I didn’t want him to do this alone.”