Elizabeth Dole receives award, announces partnership to help military caregivers

  • Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:05 a.m.
Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a native of Salisbury, speaks during Public Counsel banquet in Los Angeles.
Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a native of Salisbury, speaks during Public Counsel banquet in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — Public Counsel honored Elizabeth Dole with its William O. Douglas Award Sept. 12 and announced a new partnership to give legal support to caregivers supporting wounded warriors and military veterans.

Dole, the former U.S. senator, Cabinet secretary, and president of the American Red Cross, headlined the William O. Douglas Dinner, an annual gala that raises more than $2.3 million to support Public Counsel’s nationally recognized legal work.

Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm and helps more than 30,000 people every year through the power of the law.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presented the award to Dole, with special tributes from Rosalynn Carter, Garth Brooks, George Shultz, Donna Shalala, Jay Leno and Gary Sinise.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized by Public Counsel with the William O. Douglas Award,” Dole said. “Public Counsel’s work is a vital lifeline for countless vulnerable citizens, and my foundation is proud indeed to be announcing a new partnership with this great organization to extend legal services to the nation’s hidden heroes — America’s military and veteran caregivers.”

“Whether fighting for a voice for military caregivers or representing our nation at the highest levels, Elizabeth Dole has set a towering standard of service to others,” said Public Counsel President and CEO Hernan D. Vera. “Public Counsel is proud to celebrate Sen. Dole’s leadership and remarkable skill in getting things done for the American people in times of crisis and great need.”

Dole unveiled a first of its kind collaboration organized by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation between The Center for Veterans Advancement at Public Counsel, the American Bar Association, and the Military Officers Association of America to meet the legal needs of military and veteran caregivers.

Caregivers living at or near the poverty line will now have access to life-changing legal and financial planning services.

“Countless wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and other loved ones across the country are struggling every day to care for their wounded warriors and support their family’s legal and financial needs,” Dole said. “All too often, individuals take on these instant full-time caregiver roles without the resources necessary to support their families. Legal support and counsel are among the most critical needs right at the outset — having a skilled attorney as an advocate makes a huge difference to a family’s livelihood.”

Award winning actor and National President of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Ken Howard emceed the William O. Douglas Dinner.

More than 1,200 leaders from the business, legal, public service, and philanthropic communities gathered at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills to support Public Counsel’s work.

Past recipients of Public Counsel’s William O. Douglas Award include Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

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