June 25, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cathy Cuddy, Executive Coordinator
Tel: (202) 587- 5708
From the law offices of Bond, Bates, Sykstus, Tanner, & Ezzell, P.C. and W.T. Graham
WASHINGTON, DC - July 25, 2012 - William T. Graham of the law office W.T. Graham, and Ron Sykstus of the law firm of Bond, Botes, Sykstus, Tanner, & Ezzell, P.C., recently succeeded in winning a total of $58,516 in benefits for two veterans in need. Mr. Graham won over $54,500 for a homeless veteran, ensuring that the veteran will no longer live in poverty, and Mr. Sykstus won approximately $4,000 in much needed retroactive benefits for a desperately poor veteran. Both of these attorneys performed these services as part of the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program.
NOVA and Public Counsel's Center for Veterans Advancement created the CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program to ensure that homeless veterans obtain self-sustainability, while overcoming barriers that homelessness and poverty perpetuate.
The program was started in July, 2009. At the genesis of the program there were 26 attorney-participants representing 25 law firms throughout the United States. At the end of December 2011, the program had grown to 46 attorneys, representing 40 different law firms from across the United States. Since its inception, attorneys in this program have worked over 687 hours for free and have won $459,841 in benefits for homeless veterans.
Mr. Graham and Mr. Sykstus are keenly aware that one-third of returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom, or OEF/OIF, veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD), major depression, or Traumatic Brain Injury; and that OEF/OIF veterans between the ages of 20-24 have the highest suicide rate among all veterans, (nearly four-times higher than civilians from the same age group). Mr. Graham joined the Program in 2010, with Mr. Sykstus following in 2011. Both Mr. Graham and Mr. Sykstus agree that their participation in the Program is a noble one, and that their victories have helped stem the tide of poverty and homelessness among our nation's veterans.
It is a well-established fact that providing homeless veterans with access to legal representation can greatly improve the lives of those men and women who have served our country. Studies have shown that veterans who have access to stable income, medical care, and effective legal advocacy enjoy a lower incarceration rate, greater health and security, and an overall increase in their quality of life. Without effective legal advocacy, many veterans succumb to the ravages of homelessness or poverty.
If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact either Rick Little, Director of Public Counsel's Center for Veterans Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org, or David Hobson, Executive Director of NOVA at email@example.com
The National Organization of Veterans' Advocates is a not-for-profit educational membership organization incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1993. NOVA is a national organization of attorneys and other qualified members who act as advocates for disabled veterans. Our goal is to provide excellent representation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims, the Board of Veterans' Appeals, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to veterans who have disability claims against the government resulting from their service as members of the armed forces. Offices are at 1425 K St NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005. Phone: (202) 587- 5708, Fax: (202) 587- 5600, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.vetadvocates.org