Inspiring the Valley: Local veteran thanks Fresno County DA for saving his life

Inspiring the Valley

Louisa May Alcott once said, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

A more apt description for Nick Ramey’s life may not be found. Two years ago, Ramey was facing a serious storm.

“There was no way I was going to live to 32 or 40, a closed casket pretty soon would have been me, burn bright and die young,” says Nick Ramey, U.S. Marine Veteran.

Ramey, a 32-year-old former marine, returned home angry with a substance abuse problem and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He got in trouble with the law, facing a serious charge and jail time.

“And when I say that the district attorney saved my life, I really mean that,” Ramey says.

Fresno County District Attorney, Lisa Smittcamp recommended Ramey be sent to veterans court where they go through, what can be a challenging, program of treatment and counseling.

Hon. Hilary Chittick, superior court judge, says, “Many of them have really profound mental health issues, PTSD issues, that has resulted in for example use of alcohol or violence, responding to things violently those kinds of things and they really have to put in a lot of work and effort to turn that around.”

Ramey embraced the program, turned his life around and graduated from the program with the help of his mentor Vietnam veteran, Gid Adkisson, who is still in his life to this day.

“Having a veteran mentor I would say is critical,” Ramey says. “I  wouldn’t be able to go through this program without having a veteran mentor.”

Knowing just how critical mentors are for a vet’s success in the program, Ramey chose to become a mentor himself. He knows what his brothers are facing.

He explains, “They do not see the big picture, they only see what their anger or depression allows them to see.” Adding, “You don’t have to butt heads, you can cease fire and there are groups that are legitimately helping veterans.”

For law enforcement, seeing someone like Ramey turn his life around makes up for what can sometimes be a thankless job.

“I think the Nick Rameys of our world here in the DA’s office, the people who do succeed, that go on to be better husbands and fathers and then turn around and start contributing to the community it really does fill us back up,” says Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County DA.

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