Military & Veterans Affairs Legal Guide: Advocating for Veterans: Basic Principles of Veterans Benefits, Dec. 20, 2023
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Veterans Day 2023 Celebration in Delaware County, Nov. 10. 2023
The day started at the Delaware County Bar Association headquarters, meeting Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Debra Todd’s security detail and setting up for a Wills for Heroes (WFH) event and PBA Military and Veterans Affairs (MVA) Committee meeting. Chief Justice Todd and her husband, MVA Co-Chair Steve Todd, a three-decade Army veteran, and Media Mayor Bob McMahon, a Vietnam veteran, greeted more than 30 lawyers, paralegals, bar association staff and other volunteers. The trio toured the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum in Media as PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis, joined by MVA Vice Chair Richard Prebil, conducted WFH training.
The Chief Justice spoke, along with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and others at the annual parade.
The afternoon consisted of providing free basic estate planning documents to 26 police, fire, emergency medical personnel, other first responders, military veterans, essential personnel and their spouses. WFH is sponsored by the PBA Young Lawyers Division.
The Veterans Day weekend also saw WFH programs in Allegheny, Berks, Franklin, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Monroe Counties.
Pictured below: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (second from left); Chief Justice Debra Todd (at the podium) and U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (far right) at the Veterans Day parade in Media
Pictured below: Wills for Heroes event
Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Meeting, March 31, 2023
Steve Todd, chair of the PBA Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, hands Michele Vollmer, Penn State Dickinson Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic director, one of the PBA MVA Challenge Coins. Committee Vice Chair Jordan Morgan is to Vollmer’s right. The PBA MVA Committee met at the law school, observed a clinical demonstration of a VA hearing, heard from clinic clients and toured the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg.
Read Penn State Law’s “Penn State Law Clinic hosts PA Bar Association Military and Veterans Committee”
Legal Issues Affecting Military Personnel, December 7, 2022
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Third in the Veterans Advocacy in Pennsylvania Series cosponsored by the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee
View Part II: Veterans Advocacy in Pennsylvania: Basic Veterans Law, recorded on August 20, 2022
View Part I: Introduction to Trauma Informed Advocacy & the Pa. Veterans Treatment Court, recorded on April 4, 2022
Media Memorial Day Parade, May 30, 2022
Pictured below from left: PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Keller Trevaskis, former Tuskegee Airman Dr. Gene Richardson and U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. Richardson was the principal at James Elverson Jr. School, around the corner from Temple Law School. Scanlon spoke about her recent fact-finding trip to Europe and emphasized our national commitment to Ukraine. Ukraine was a focus of the Memorial Day celebration as Father Daniel Troyan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Swarthmore spoke about community support and sang the Ukrainian National Anthem. Retired Army Ranger Maj. Patrick Creed shared his story of volunteering with the Ukrainian forces (Creed just returned home the day before the parade).
Carlisle Community Memorial Day Ceremony, May 31, 2021
PBA Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Co-chair Lisa Grayson attended the annual Carlisle Memorial Day program, held at the U.S. Army Heritage Education Center. The keynote speaker was Rocky Bleier, decorated (most notably, Purple Heart and Bronze Star) Vietnam vet and former Pittsburgh Steeler great Rocky Bleier. Grayson was seated in the Pa. National Guard section with Sgt. Rupert and Spc. Shaffer, who are pictured below with Bleier and Grayson.
Delaware County 2020 Veterans Day Virtual Parade
For 60 years, the Delaware County Veterans Day Parade has been one of the largest Veterans Day observances in Pennsylvania. In 2020, the physical parade has been sidelined, but the observance continued with a virtual event that was streamed live on YouTube. View the video. Plans were announced for the PBA to hold a 2021 parade legal needs clinic.
View highlights of past parades, inlcuding a clip from 2011 of now President-Elect Joe Biden speaking (at 16:37). PBA Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Co-Chair Wes Payne appears behind Biden.
Butler Court Veterans Treatment Court Graduation Ceremony, Nov. 9, 2020
Pictured below from left: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd, Butler County Judge Timothy F. McCune, former Pittsburgh Steeler (and wounded Vietnam War Veteran) Rocky Blier and PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Vice Chair Steve Todd on Nov. 9, 2020, at the Butler Court Veterans Treatment Court graduation ceremony
On Nov. 11, 2019, veteran and PBA Military and Veterans Committee Chair Lisa Grayson (right) met with U.S. Senator Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon at the 60th annual Delaware County Veterans Day Parade in Media.
From left: Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Lisa Grayson joins PBA President Anne John and PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis at the Cumberland County Pro Bono Celebration, Oct. 22, 2019.
Legal Needs and Domestic Relations Clinic at Lebanon V.A. Medical Center, Aug. 17, 2018
The PBA Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and the Lebanon V.A. Medical Center partnered to help veterans at the second quarterly Legal Needs and Domestic Relations Clinic on Aug. 17, 2018. The next clinic at the Lebanon V.A. Medical Center is planned for Nov. 9, 2018. Pictured below are (front row, from left): Gabriele Miller-Wagner, PBA Pro Bono Office administrative assistant; Hannah Suhr, attorney volunteer; Lisa Grayson (Lt. Col., U.S. Army Reserve, and chair, PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee; (back row, from left) David Trevaskis, PBA Pro Bono coordinator; Sarah Primak, V.A. staff; Christina Fisher, attorney volunteer; and Stephen Sess, 2018 Penn State Dickinson Law grad and Marine Corps. veteran.
Pictured below are Grayson and U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force veteran Anthony Key, one of the more than 40 veterans helped through the clinic.
DCBA Free Training for Member Certification to Accept Veterans' Disability Appeals Cases, April 23, 2015
The Dauphin County Bar Association holds training for DCBA members free of charge to become certified to accept veterans' disability appeals cases on April 25, 2-5:30 p.m., at the DCBA, Harrisburg. Get more information from the DCBA.
Arcadia University and Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Honor Veterans, April 11, 2015
The Arcadia University baseball team lost both ends of a doubleheader on April 11, but the day was still a big win for the Arcadia Student Veteran Organization (ASVO),which celebrated the Military Appreciation Baseball Game with a successful fundraiser — selling baseball hats and game-worn uniforms — and a military legal-aid clinic letting veterans know of support from the legal profession. Arcadia students and faculty, a number of whom are veterans, were joined by lawyers from the PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The PBA, under the auspices of President Francis X. O'Connor, has instituted the Lawyers Saluting Veterans initiative, which honors veterans by asking every lawyer in Pennsylvania to help take one case pro bono for a veteran. The PBA also provides free estate-planning documents for veterans through the Wills for Heroes (WFH) program. Looking ahead, the ASVO is planning to host a WFH program on Arcadia's campus on Sept. 12. Shown in the photo below, are, front row, left to right, Libby Miller, Bethany Hess (USMC vet), Jennifer Ashby (current Army National Guard), Lynn D'orio, Jordan Morgan (Navy vet), Arcadia University political Science Professor and group sponsor Amy Widestrom and volunteer attorney Craig Oppenheimer; back row, left to right, attorney volunteer Malcolm Murray, Alex Merker, PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis, Fred Zajac (Army vet) and volunteer attorney Harry Cooper.
DCBA Members Counsel Homeless Vets, Feb. 2, 2015
Dauphin County lawyers offered legal advice to homeless veterans at the Harrisburg Military Post on Feb. 2, 2015, as part of the Dauphin County Bar Association-supported HOMELESS VETERANS Stand Down program. Standing at left in the photo below is Jim Strupe. Seated, from left, are Karen Moyers, Joe Schwartz and Patrick Todd.
USCIS Welcomes More Than 3,000 New Citizens at Naturalization Ceremonies Across the Country, Nov. 7-14, 2014
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will highlight service members, military spouses and veterans taking the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies in honor of Veterans Day. In all, USCIS will welcome more than 3,000 new citizens at nearly 40 naturalization ceremonies taking place across the country Nov. 7-14. Read more.
Dauphin County Bar Association Unveiled Veterans Disability Referral Service, Dec. 3, 2013
Dec. 3, 2013, marked a celebration more than three years in the planning as the Dauphin County Bar Association (DCBA) unveiled its Veterans Disability Referral Service, which it created in partnership with the PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs (MVA) Committee and the PBA Pro Bono Office. Twenty-two local lawyer recruits freshly trained in October by retired Widener Law professor Tom Reed and Harrisburg attorney Jeremiah Underhill, both MVA Committee members, are now serving veterans in the midstate region. Underhill, who ran Widener's Harrisburg Veterans Law Clinic from 2007 until its closure in 2010, had been trying to organize a successor service to help vets with appeals ever since. Under the new program, and according to government guidelines, prospective clients must have been denied VA disability benefits and be ready to appeal those refusals before attorneys in the referral program can offer help. Veterans whose incomes are at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for free aid and government-set contingency fee rates will apply for less needy clients. Ten percent of the income from contingency fees is to go back into the program. Underhill notes the importance of representation: "If a person has an attorney, they're 25 times more likely to get a positive outcome." Veterans in need of help and lawyers interested in joining the program can call the DCBA at 717-232-7536. Pictured below are Underhill (front, fourth from left), Dauphin County Bar Executive Liz Simcox (front, fifth from left) and other leaders of the DCBA program at a reception in honor of the program.
Committee/Section Day, Nov. 21, 2013
Veterans Disability Referral Service Training in Harrisburg, Oct. 4, 2013
Professor Tom Reed and Jeremiah Underhill conduct Veterans Disability Referral Service Training at the Dauphin County Bar Association, Harrisburg, on Oct. 4.
Pennsylvania Service Connect Team Event in Harrisburg, Sept. 22, 2012
The Pennsylvania Service Connect Team (PSC) is a new initiative developed by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help former servicemen and servicewomen overcome difficulties in returning to civilian life. Read the announcement and invitation to the PSC's First Annual Service, Support & Resource Showcase Event, to be held Sept. 22.
Pennsylvania Veterans Museum Law Clinic Wills for Veterans Event, Media, Pa., March 24, 2012
Committee/Section Day, March 31, 2011
Army OneSource Materials
Practice Before the Department of Veterans Affairs Pamphlet for PBI CLE, Aug. 26, 2011
Flag Day CLE, June 14, 2011
Come participate in the Pennsylvania Bar Institute presentation of the PBA’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Desktop Military Reference Training, the major training effort for the Legal Assistance to Military Personnel Pro Bono Program which has helped nearly two thousand soldiers, veterans and their families over the past decade. The training will be held all day on Flag Day, June 14, 2011, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and sent out across the commonwealth by satellite. Join attorneys and judges who will be presenting and learning about the legal issues that impact active, guard and reserve armed forces.
Additionally, the program is meant to continue to encourage statewide pro bono programs to assist our armed forces with legal matters that affect them and their families. The PBA MVA Committee has worked closely with the National Veterans Education Program out of Media, Pennsylvania, the home of the Veterans Museum, as well as with Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge where the Medal of Honor Gardens have been rehabilitated with PBA MVA assistance.
PBA MVA on Veterans Day at the National Constitution Center, Nov. 11, 2010
The Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will be featured at the National Constitution Center on Veteran’s Day as its Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Program (LAMP) helps military personnel and veteran get legal assistance shares resources during the day. Wes Payne, Chair of the Philadelphia area LAMP effort, will be available during the day to highlight the PBA’s commitment to those who serve now and have served in the past.
LAMP programs were started at the request of the Armed Forces with Bar Associations throughout the nation being asked to organize civilian attorney pro bono programs to provide legal assistance to deployed and mobilized military personnel and their families. The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) Pro Bono Project is a program of the PBA’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. It connects active-duty military personnel to free legal assistance for civil legal issues beyond the scope of services provided by a military legal assistance office. LAMP is designed to help our service men and women, and veterans, make sure their legal affairs are in order and to plan for their families when active duty service personnel are absent. LAMP provides legal assistance in estate planning, employment, consumer, debtor/creditor, housing, immigration, family law and taxes. LAMP also provides assistance with Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and more.
The PBA MVA runs the LAMP program through the PBA Pro Bono Office and is chaired by Montgomery County lawyer and retired naval Captain Cheryl L. Austin and Harrisburg attorney Laurel Hettinger Fedak. The Pennsylvania Bar Association, through its Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Program (LAMP), has been answering the call of our servicemembers and veterans since 2002 and has helped more than 2000 individuals and families during that time at no cost to those requesting aid.
Dec. 3, 2009, Committee/Section Day Agenda
PBA Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Takes Part in 2009 Veterans Summit