ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Oct. 11, 2021 — Veterans now have preferred parking when doing business at the St. Johns County courthouse.
“It’s just one small way we can thank our veterans for their service to our country,” said St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Brandon J. Patty. “While this designation is an active demonstration of our appreciation, reserved parking also is a functional benefit for our veterans.”
Circuit Judge Howard O. McGillin Jr., Chairman Bill Dudley of the St. Johns County Veterans Council, and Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator Cynthia Thompson joined Clerk Patty Friday to formally designate two parking spaces near the south entrance to the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center, located at 4010 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine.
“A priority parking space is a small but meaningful gesture to extend to our veterans,” said Judge McGillin, who presides over Veterans Treatment Court in St. Johns County. “Many of the veterans in our program and other veterans who need to access the courthouse suffer from physical disabilities that do not qualify for handicapped parking. These spaces extend a courtesy to them in particular that simply says ‘thank you for your service.’”
“The reserved parking underscores the feeling of patriotism of our elected officials in St. Johns County and their support for our veterans,” said Dudley.
Veterans Court is an initiative in the 7th Judicial Circuit designed to focus on the distinctive needs of veterans in the criminal justice system. Veterans Treatment Court in St. Johns County started in 2017 under the leadership of Judge McGillin and Dudley and the Veterans Council, with support from St. Johns County.
Veterans Courts follow a positive, authoritative model to assist veterans with resolving legal matters while linking veterans to services to which they are entitled, such as medical, substance abuse, and mental health treatment, housing, and food.
With the north entrance closed indefinitely since spring 2020 due to the pandemic, the south entrance provides the only public access to the complex.
Disabled veterans with the appropriate permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles or a Disabled Veterans license plate or placard should continue to use designated parking spaces for disabled persons.
Pictured left to right: St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Brandon J. Patty, presiding Veterans Treatment Court Circuit Judge Howard O. McGillin Jr., St. Johns County Veterans Council Chairman Bill Dudley, and County Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator Cynthia Thompson