Expert Alert: Recognizing Veterans

Nov 9, 2020

How do we recognize the sacrifices of veterans in a way that is respectful of their individual experiences?

Veterans Day, a time to honor those who've served our country, is Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

Leah Cleeland, assistant professor of Social Work, researches the deployment impact on National Guard spouses, and the impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on soldiers, veterans, and their families. Cleeland’s also an evaluator with the Duluth Veterans Treatment Court, which assists veterans in the criminal justice system who have mental health or addiction issues. She’s available to talk about her work as Veterans Day is recognized.

Q & A with Leah Cleeland Leah Cleeland

Can you talk about the responsibility of caring for veterans after they return home?

Leah Cleeland in her office

America's veterans made sacrifices for this country. It is our responsibility to adequately care for the physical and mental challenges that resulted from that service for those who need it. This is why I do what I do. 

How does recognizing their sacrifices by saying things like, “Thank you for your service,” impact veterans?

How veterans see their service varies from veteran to veteran. This sort of perspective is best coming from an actual veteran, in my opinion. 

What kind of work are you doing with the Duluth Veterans Court?

The Duluth Veterans Court is like a treatment court, it helps connect veterans to the resources unique to each veteran’s needs.

A collaborative team including the judge, city and county attorneys, defense attorneys, the VA, and non-profit veteran specific service agencies meet to facilitate wrap around services and support.

Veteran participants and the team have check-in hearings, and every veteran is paired with a mentor. That aligns well with military peer support that they’re used to.

Contact Information

Leah Cleeland

[email protected] 

(218) 726-7658