Allan K. Dubois 2015-10-26 12:00:43
See You at the Next Veterans Clinic Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served in the United States military. For this attorney, every day is a day to honor those who have served, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I was attending the University of Texas School of Law on the Army’s excess leave program when our close San Antonio friend, Lt. Jack House, visited Pam and me and our firstborn son, Chris. Fit and confident, Jack had just completed Airborne and elite Ranger training. We discussed his upcoming assignment to Vietnam and the significance of combat experience. Jack shared that he appreciated my opportunity to attend law school and that he might also consider a career as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps lawyer “when this is over.” He selflessly stated that because he was single, he was best suited for combat duty; my Army career rightfully included being with my family. I still experience the painful feelings that came over me when the numbing news arrived that Jack, a platoon leader, had been killed in a fierce firefight. I often think about our conversation and attending his funeral dressed in my Army greens. I recall vividly the profound sadness in his parents’ faces. I paused in prayer by his closed casket, piled high with the honorable badges, pins, and medals emblematic of a true military hero. I have visited his grave and, decades later, touched his name etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall constructed in honor of the almost 60,000 fallen service members. I cried each time. I committed then, and remain committed to this day, to honor Lt. Jack House by serving those who survived. On active duty, I was a JAG appellate defense attorney. In private practice, I represent service members and their families. In 2010, recognizing the many legal issues facing veterans, State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham launched Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, a collaborative effort with local bars, legal aid organizations, and veterans service providers to host legal advice clinics throughout the state. Being a part of these programs has been a highlight of my career. There is a new generation of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now have a better appreciation of the challenges faced by them after reading Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept, a gift from my daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Jeff. In this book, Daniel Rodriguez, the son of a retired Marine, tells his incredible story of change and challenge. Playing high school football as an undersized athlete, Daniel barely earned the right to graduate. Lacking purpose, he joined the U.S. Army Infantry. His journey takes him through basic training, then combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He rose to sergeant and was decorated for his valor and wounds. Daniel voluntarily left the service after four years. He shares his struggles with Veterans Affairs, therapists, substance abuse, and the haunting question of why he survived. With the help of caring professionals and a service dog, he recovers slowly. He entered a junior college program hoping to qualify academically to attend a four-year college. Most importantly, he has dedicated himself to achieving his dream to play college football and realizing a promise he made on the battlefield. Making the team as a walk-on wide receiver, Daniel proudly carried the American flag on Military Appreciation Day as he ran into the stadium with his Clemson Tigers teammates. His story is truly inspirational and provides a better understanding as well as compassion for the complex challenges faced by young veterans. As lawyers, we can uniquely assist our veterans. Please join me this month, and in the years to come, in honoring our veterans by providing them with pro bono counsel at veterans clinics, where we listen, ask caring questions, share what we may have in common, and give legal advice (for more information, go to texasbar.com/tltv). Resources are available when additional expertise is required. If every Texas attorney did one meaningful act of service for a veteran by the end of 2015, there would be nearly 100,000 additional tributes made in honor of fallen service members and an equal number of grateful clients. Follow me! Allan K. DuBois President, State Bar of Texas
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/President%E2%80%99s+Opinion/2306030/278019/article.html.