April 2018 Newsletter: We Salute Our Volunteers!

IN THIS ISSUE

19 April 2018

Veterans Legal Corps
AMERICORPS JD PROGRAM

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
Equal Justice WorksAmericorps

 

The Veterans Consortium is still accepting applications for the Veterans Legal Corps - AmeriCorps JD Program for both summer and fall fellowships in our Washington, DC offices.

Click here for more information about the program and how to apply.


IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER

TVC CAVC Attorney Training

Boston, MA

Date: 27 June 2018

More information to follow

Sponsored by:

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Nutter


Seattle, WA

Date: 27 September 2018

Sponsored by:

Foster Pepper PLLC

Foster Pepper

For any questions or more information, please email Leigh Hillebrand at Leigh.Hillebrand@vetsprobono.org, Coordinator, Volunteer Outreach & Education.

To register or more information, please click here.


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Visit our website at www.vetsprobono.org

We Salute Our Volunteers!

Thank you!

This week is National Volunteer Week and we want to take this opportunity to salute and recognize our TVC National Volunteer Corps for their pro bono service to veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. Their willingness to donate their quality legal talents has an enormous impact on the lives of our nation's defenders. Each month in our Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) section, we highlight only one member of our amazing TVC National Volunteer Corps who works with us. But there are countless others winning cases. We are grateful to have them as members of our team fighting for justice. To date, they have donated over $110 million in pro bono services on nearly 6,000 cases for veterans and their loved ones. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for your service!

In the words of a grateful client, a Korean War veteran from California: "I find what my attorney has accomplished nearly miraculous. The quality of my legal representation could not have been better. The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is truly a godsend."


Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP):
Adam R. Hess

Adam R. Hess
Adam R. Hess
Partner, Venable LLP
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps

A glance at Adam Hess' biography on the Venable LLP website, where he is a partner, leaves one to wonder how he would ever find "free" time to delve into other interests. But Hess, an Intellectual Property attorney who works in patent infringement litigation says he finds plenty of time to volunteer, pursue family time and passions of snowboarding, mountain biking, backpacking and golf. For the past 13 years, that "free" time has included pro bono work for The Veterans Consortium, tackling six cases. For his diligence and perseverance with these cases, Hess, 52, has been chosen as The Veterans Consortium Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) for April 2018.

Hess grew up near Reading, Penn., and was one of the first in his family to go to college. Some of his relatives joined the Air Force, and others served in the Army and Marine Corps. "Their service meant something to me, and I saw TVC as an opportunity to do my part," says Hess, who lives in Arlington, where he and his wife raised two children. "I don't remember how I first heard of [TVC], but their training program definitely caught my eye."

He especially enjoys helping Veterans who have "fallen through the cracks" in their efforts to navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs process. Currently, he is working on a case for an Army veteran from Puerto Rico who is seeking benefits for a service connected disability. "It's been up and down a few times," Hess says, describing several trips to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and back to the regional office on remand. Most recently, the Court held that the veteran was entitled to service connection dating to 1955 and remanded the matter for determination of benefits. "Now, we are just waiting to hear back from the regional office."

Hess received a chemical engineering degree from Lehigh University before going on to The George Washington University School of Law. Although he says his practice doesn't focus on any one particular technology, "I use the technology I learned as an undergraduate in all of my cases." But what he mostly sees is a great difference in Intellectual Property law and Veterans law.

"Intellectual Property matters can sometimes seem dry and focused on corporate revenue, rather than on an individual's well-being," Hess says about his Intellectual Property work. "But for veterans, these benefits can have a meaningful impact on their lives. Helping them in this way brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and I am glad to do my part."

Click here to read Adam's full biography »


National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program® participated in two Vietnam veterans outreach events: the Hospice of the Chesapeake Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day celebration on 29 March, and the Gilchrist Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day celebration in west Baltimore on 30 March.

Dave Myers, Esq., greets two Vietnam veterans.

Dave Myers, Esq., greets two Vietnam veterans.

Dave Myers (CDR, JAGC, USN, Ret.), TVC Director of Program Development, attended both these events, which honored Vietnam veterans and provided them with information and support resources. Dave, a Vietnam era veteran himself, spoke to veterans at both events about TVC's work appealing Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) decisions before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM.

On 28 March 2017, the President signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. This act officially recognizes 29 March as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.


Another Successful Alternative Spring Break (ASB)

After a successful experience last year, The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program® was eager to invite local law students to participate in Alternative Spring Break (ASB), a part of our TVC Legal Scholars ProgramSM. While many college students flock to the beach, participants of the Alternative Spring Break are provided the unique opportunity to volunteer for a local organization to get hands-on experience in their field of choice. At The Veterans Consortium, our volunteers received training on a wide range of legal issues from administrative law to appellate work before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).

Samantha Stiltner, a TVC staff attorney, led volunteers in their training, and provided them with tasks that related to the full lifecycle of a veteran's case, including intake, research, strategy and drafting assignments. She describes ASB as "a fulfilling opportunity to work with veterans who have a real-life need. In doing so, the students get hands on, practical training working at a federal court while providing valuable legal resources in a pro bono setting."

This year, TVC was excited to invite Angelic Papacalos, an American University law student, and Jinmeng Li, a Georgetown University law student, to join us for the week. "I really enjoyed my time working for The Veterans Consortium during spring break," Papacalos says. "I worked on case evaluations and sorted through case documents for evidence regarding specific issues on appeal. I learned a lot about service connected disabilities and the process for veterans to get benefits, including appeals."

Interested in applying for Alternative Spring Break 2019?

The opportunity is designed for law students in the DC area who are available for the duration of their spring break. To apply, students should contact the pro bono coordinator at their university.

"The Alternative Spring Break is your chance to make a difference using your skills and drive to make a very real impact on a veteran's life and circumstances," Stiltner says. "We hope you join us!"

Angelic Papacalos, American University and Danica Gonzalves, Esq.

Angelic Papacalos, American University and Danica Gonzalves, Esq.

Jinmeng Li, Georgetown University

Jinmeng Li, Georgetown University


Executive Director's Corner

Ed Glabus
Ed Glabus
Executive Director

Memorial Day is fast approaching. I hope that you will join us on Monday, 28 May in honoring those who "gave the last full measure of devotion." You may recall that members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps and staff marked those sacrifices this past December by participating in Wreaths Across America local events. Next month, I hope you can join TVC in marking the Memorial Day national holiday. There are many fitting events to consider including Runs for the Fallen (in many states), Memorial Rides (motorcycle and bicycle), and the National Moment of Remembrance.

Established by the U.S. Congress in Public Law 106-579, in December 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day. The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on this national holiday. The moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather, it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died in service to the United States. During this moment, some 200 Amtrak trains will blast their whistles; approximately 500,000 Major League Baseball fans will join in silence; and countless other participants will make a vow to remember.

So whichever means you choose — Run, Ride, or Remember — we hope you will join with TVC in making this Memorial Day a truly meaningful celebration. And a special thank you, this Memorial Day, to our TVC National Volunteer Corps, mission partners, supporters, and sponsors for helping our Veterans obtain the care, benefits, and compensation they were promised through the best legal services, free of charge, to meet their challenges.


TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM Clinic

The Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM held a discharge upgrade clinic at the DCHires event hosted by the DC National Guard, the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs, and the DC Department of Human Resources on Wednesday, 4 April 2018. Members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps met with Veterans in need of discharge upgrades for their Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharges for conduct related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM has assisted more than 220 veterans in the past ninety days alone.

The DCHires event at the DC Armory offered veterans and family members an opportunity to participate in professional development workshops and connect with district, state and federal agencies, private-sector companies, and service organizations. More than 400 veterans and their spouses attended the event.

We want to thank the following members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps on behalf of the veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors we serve.

BlankRome

Blank Rome
Justin Chiarodo
Mark Thronson
Ji Young Park

vmware(r)

VMWare®
Nicola MacDonald
Audrey Borisov
Jon Mellis

We also want to thank the following member of our TVC Legal Scholars ProgramSM

Georgetown Law

Georgetown Law
Jessica Bigby

GW Law

GW Law
Robert Mang
John Arszolowicz
Anna Mizzi

Discharge Upgrade Program(SM) Clinic

From left to right: Ed Glabus, Executive Director TVC; Ely Ross, Director, Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA); and, Mary Ann Gilleece, Chairman, TVC Executive Board, at the DCHires event held 4 April 2018.


#theyfoughtforus

Contact TVC, a national 501(c)(3) charity celebrating 25 years of pro bono legal service to U.S. veterans and their loved ones in federal venues. Our website:www.vetsprobono.org.


Copyright © 2018. The Veterans Pro Bono Program.
All rights reserved.