Veteran promises to get life back on track after judge’s kind act

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. – A judge’s unusual act has a former soldier promising to get his life back on track.

Joseph Serna has been deployed four times as a member of the Special Forces.

Since retiring, he told WRAL that he turned to alcohol to overcome things he experienced while in the military.

“I’ve lost a lot of friends and I take my bumps as well and I didn’t want to talk about it,” he said.

Serna has been trying to get sober, but has ended up in Cumberland County’s Veterans Treatment Court 25 times while going through the treatment program.

When Serna lied about a urinalysis test, District Court Judge Lou Olivera ordered him to spend 24 hours behind bars.

Olivera drove Serna to the jail and surprised the former soldier when he was locked in the cell with him.

The two men spent most of the night talking about their military service.

“They have worn the uniform and we know they can be contributing members of society. We just want to get them back there,” Olivera said.

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