NWLawyer | APR/MAY 2014 26
by Ana Selvidge
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
— JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY
veterans suffer needlessly because they
cannot access the healthcare they need.
How Can I Help?
The WSBA Call to Duty initiative is
designed to inform, inspire, and involve volunteer attorneys in meeting
the legal needs of veterans and their
families. The initiative aims to provide
information and resources to equip
our members to serve. Whether it’s
through one of our new Days of Service
opportunities or through one of the
many great local or national volunteer
opportunities, members take the 2014
WSBA Call to Duty Pledge and commit
to serving Washington veterans.
The pledge reads:
As part of the pledge, the WSBA sup-
ports members by providing resources
both legal and non-legal to serve veter-
ans, education, CLEs, and the opportu-
nity to answer various calls to duty.
Pledges are automatically added to
our “Call to Duty Pledge” list serve,
which also notes announcements and
volunteer opportunities. A feature of
this pledge includes monthly Lunch
and Learns, which highlight various
organizations that serve veterans and
how members can get involved. Three
of these have been recorded and are
Readying Our Corps to Serve
There are over half a million veterans in our state and an estimated 6,000 active duty members transi- tion to veteran status every year. Roughly 13
percent are active members of our Bar.
Veterans live all across our state — the
top five counties with the highest percentage of veterans are Spokane, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, and King.
Since 9/11 our state has deployed
112,104 active duty members to serve
our country. Many veterans, especially
those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, are facing distinct barriers to successful reintegration into civilian life.
Unemployment is higher for veterans.
For post 9/11 veterans, unemployment
is at 12. 3 percent — the national average
is 8. At least 20 percent of Iraq and Af-
ghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or
depression and recent statistical studies
show that rates of veteran suicide are
much higher than previously thought.
Not surprisingly, these issues are
compounded by various legal issues.
Veterans face a higher need in fam-
ily, employment, housing, and life case
planning. Cases concerning benefits
are an all-consuming and complicated
process to navigate, and many times,
WSBA’s Call to Duty