Indianapolis—A Marion County judge is packing up her gavel and picking up a rifle as she prepares to ship out for Afghanistan this weekend. Only this mission has rural roots. Judge Marilyn Moores will spend a year teaching Afghan villagers how it's done down on the farm in Indiana.
In court, Judge Moores dons a black robe. In Afghanistan, it will be camouflage all the way as the barrister becomes a farmer for a year in a war zone.
"We're going back to help try and establish good farming practice things that have been lost in the loss of humanity that has occurred in Afghanistan," Moores told Fox59 News.
30 years of on-again, off-again war have devastated Afghanistan and killed off generations of farmers who knew how to till the land. Judge Moores, who has a small horse farm, will try to revitalize equine ranching in a country where four-legged transportation is more practical than traveling by jeep or plowing by tractor.
"This is a mission every soldier hopes for, where the mission isn't war but peace," she said.
What the judge leaves behind is the conflict of the courtroom where every year the lives of thousands of children and their families hang in the balance.
"I have no doubt things will be wonderful while I'm gone. We are working very hard on probably our major initiative is working to address the disproportionate number of children and families of color in the system," said Moores.
In Afghanistan, a 36-person security force will keep the judge and her fellow soldiers safe. Is she worried about her safety?
"Forget Afghanistan, you can be killed walking across 25th Street to get a Diet Coke!"
Judge Moores and her Indiana National Guard contingent ship out of Camp Atterbury on Saturday. They are scheduled to return to Indiana next August.