It's a program formed to help veterans in trouble with the law that continues to grow nationwide and locally.

Mahoning County's Veterans Court celebrated its 41st graduate Tuesday, 8 years since the program started here in the Valley.

"The individuals who have served our great nation, we try to get them back on their feet," said Derick Young, Director of Mahoning County Veterans Court. "It does take some time, in fact, our program duration can be longer than if someone was sentenced in the traditional criminal justice route."

Since 2016, Mahoning County's Honor Court has offered a program to veterans to help them turn their lives around. Veterans charged with non-violent felonies must complete the program and their charges are dropped and their records are cleared.

The first two veterans graduated back in June of 2018.

"As veterans, we lean on each other," Young added. "It doesn't matter if he was a participant or in my position. We want to help each other as human beings."

The court celebrating its 41st graduate on Tuesday, Justin Derringer. The U.S. Army veteran was caught with a firearm and illegal substance with a prior felony. He said Veterans Court truly turned his life around.

"I was just barely skating by being a combat veteran and my employment was very rough," Derringer told 21 News.

Veterans Court assists those struggling through one-on-one mentoring, slowly helping veterans build a better future for themselves.

"We want to work on fixing the catalyst," Young explained. "For example, what's caused an action instead of punishing a problem out of someone. We try to fix that catalyst with whether it's mental health or substance use related."

Young encourages veterans in similar situations to consider the program because what it offers is designed to work with veterans and the scenes they've faced.

"We have a better way of approaching that than just normal incarceration," Young said.

"I learned to trust the process," Derringer said. "There's a whole treatment team there for you. You just have to ask for help. They don't know how to help you unless you ask."

Call the Mahoning County Court to learn more about the program.