GREAT FALLS – There were many reasons for celebration Tuesday at the Cascade County Courthouse.
“Imagine my surprise when I was told we would be getting this donation,” Judge Greg Pinski said.
Five years ago, Pinski helped establish the Veterans Treatment Court in Cascade County. On Tuesday, he learned the program was receiving a donation.
When Pinski got the call, he thought the donation would be around $2,000. But when he saw the check, he almost fell out of his chair.
Dan Buckley of Buckley Law P.C. said the story begins with a young man who was addicted to amphetamines. One night in Billings, the young man’s mother took him to the hospital where he was told he needed inpatient treatment. The young man ended up at the Rocky Mountain Treatment Center in Great Falls.
The young man’s mother submitted a claim for inpatient treatment to their insurance, but the family was denied. The family paid for the treatment out-of-pocket.
Buckley was the family’s attorney in a class action lawsuit against the insurance company. The case was eventually settled. The insurance company paid out about $80,000 worth of claims to people who they had denied for addiction counseling.
The leftover funds from the class settlement were donated to veterans in need and Buckley presented a check for $107,044 to the Veterans Treatment Court from Veterans Mentoring Veterans.
The nonprofit will use the funds to rent an apartment for a homeless female veteran in the program.
“They are going to furnish the apartment, they are going to fix it up. It is going to be a safe, suitable place to live while the female veterans come into the court and get help with their visible wounds of war and get on the right path to recovery,” Pinski said.
He added the donation will fill a critical need in the community as it will not only make the female veteran feel safe but also provide a home for her children if the veteran has kids.
“This impact is going to literally save the lives of female veterans in our community,” he said.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News