On Jan. 22, the Missouri School of Law celebrated the opening of the MU Veterans Clinic, which will focus on helping veterans seek disability benefits in appellate court.
The event took place in Hulston Hall’s Courtroom and featured a talk by Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Greca, the highest noncommissioned officer in the United States Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM.
“He’s the real deal,” said Angela Drake, director of the clinic.
The clinic’s purpose is to help veterans earn their rightful benefits. The clinic will work closely with veterans whose Veterans Affairs benefits were denied, and it will help them to appeal their cases to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.
Opened on Jan. 21, the Veterans Clinic is staffed by seven third-year law students and run like a law firm, Drake said. Supervised by faculty, students interview clients, witnesses and medical personnel; research and develop cases, draft pleadings and prepare briefs; obtain medical records; and interact with other practitioners in the area of federal law.
At the celebration, Greca, an officer in charge of 800,000 soldiers, wanted to give law students a sense of what veterans are like and what they have gone through. He said that each branch of the military services teaches soldiers to be responsible and respectful.
Greca told a story about a soldier he met in an Afghanistan medical facility.
He and other generals were awarding injured soldiers Purple Hearts. One of the recipients was a young man who had lost his legs and left arm in combat. Despite his condition, the soldier sat up straight on his bed and gave a hand salute, saying, “Sir, I would be honored.”
“This is a true definition of character,” Greca said.
After soldiers finish active duty, the transition back to family and friends can be rough.
“There are many great veterans who suffer after getting out of the military,” he said. “They are looking for opportunities with responsibility and commitment. They need your trust.”
For more information on the clinic, contact Drake at email@example.com.
— JeongAn Choi