Valor Court

The Valor Court exists in recognition of the fact that many of our veterans return to civilian life burdened by serious trauma, both physical and mental. Such burdens not infrequently lead these veterans to involvement with the criminal justice system. The Valor Court combines a wealth of support programs and treatment resources, and a cadre of supportive mentors (themselves also veterans). It offers judicially-involved veterans a collaborative initiative designed to enhance their chances of successful re-integration in our communities, while reducing their recidivism risks.

The Medina Municipal Valor Court is presided over by Judge Gary F. Werner and was officially certified by the Supreme Court of Ohio on 12/16/21.

The key Medina Municipal Valor Court program components are tailored to each veteran via a comprehensive individualized case plan. Each case plan includes a support team that will assist that veteran in successfully completing the program’s and that veteran’s own personal goals. Valor Court assists the veteran to connect (or to reconnect) to specifically needed and available services at, e.g., the Veteran’s Administration and other community resources. Valor Court emphasizes the objective of rebuilding family relationships and community ties, and incentivizes the veteran’s leading a drug-free lifestyle. Valor Court helps address each veteran’s imminent and long-term needs, such as bridging immediate housing and food needs, stabilizing living conditions, developing job skills, and facilitating a return to work and/or school.

Valor Court’s raison d’etre is to honor the service of every veteran by staying ready to meet them at their moments of greatest need. Valor Court success is measured by a single criterion. Success means that its participants have displaced entirely their future judicial involvement and incarceration by re-rooting themselves within our community, within their personal network and among their peers, and by habituating their recourse to the myriad veterans’ services which they have earned.

Ed Zackary, Director and Medina County Veterans Service Officer, points to statistics that validate the effectiveness of and need for such specialized courts. Of the 22 million U.S. Veterans nationwide, 800,000 are in Ohio. This places Ohio in the top five states in terms of resident veteran populations. And about 11,250 of Ohio’s veterans reside in Medina County alone.