A Sense of Fairness

By John M. Schluep

Micheal Meade, the founder of Mosaic, stated in an interview, “Soldiers are trained to follow orders; warriors act in the best interest of the people.”  That statement resonates with the Warriors’ Journey Home mission and purpose.  In a Columbus Dispatch article some time ago it was reported that Judge Lou Olivera sentenced  Sgt. Joseph Serna, a Special Forces soldier with four combat tours in Afghanistan.  I will not go into the details of his service in Afghanistan because the focus is on Judge Lou Olivera and what he did.  Sgt. Serna, like so many veterans, could not shake the ghosts of war and their demons.  He was convicted of DUI and entered the treatment court in Cumberland County, North Carolina where Judge Olivera presides.  Serna had fought other adjustment struggles appearing before Judge Olivera 25 times.  Sgt. Serna confessed to Judge Olivera that he had not been honest with the court.  Judge Olivera sentenced Sgt. Serna to one night in jail.  Sgt. Serna arrived and turned himself in “he was trembling” according to the observation of Judge Olivera.  “I decided to spend the night serving with him,” Judge Olivera said.  As Sgt. Serna sat down on his cell cot he heard the rattle of the door and there stood Judge Lou Olivera, the judge sat down beside Joe as the door was locked by the jailer.

Warriors’ Journey Home is many things but perhaps the most significant is companionship.  Soldiers know the meaning of “I got your six.”  Judge Olivera demonstrated a sense of fairness, the exercise of incarceration for misdemeanant behavior, coupled with a compassion that said, “I will not let you walk alone through this hell.”