As citizens of the United States of America, we are indebted to our veterans and should do all that we can to assist those that are in need. As attorneys, we have an ethical obligation, as recommended by the American Bar Association, to contribute at least fifty hours of pro bono service per year. My law partner, Ron Sykstus, a veteran himself, has chosen to combine his ethical obligation with his desire to serve his fellow veterans.
One of Ron’s areas of specialization is helping disabled veterans obtain their VA Disability Benefits. He utilizes this expertise as a volunteer participant in Operation Stand Down Huntsville. Operation Stand Down, a nationwide movement, began in San Diego in 1988. The grassroots, community-based program was established to help the nation’s estimated 300,000 homeless vets get access to community, state and federal resources. During the program, Ron helped one desperately poor veteran win approximately $4000 in much needed retroactive benefits. He was recognized for his participation by the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (NOVA) as part of the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program.
The National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (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”. When the program began in July of 2009, 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.
Our country’s veterans have made numerous sacrifices on our behalf. They have served us throughout the world and endured unthinkable hardships. Ron is a former Captain with the United States Army Judge Advocates General’s Corps. He previously served both on active duty and in the United States Army Reserve in all capacities as a Judge Advocate General, including trial prosecution, trial defense, and all areas of military legal assistance. As an honorably discharged veteran, Ron has a keen understanding of what veterans go through during the process of applying for the benefits that they are entitled to. In his law practice, he not only assists soldiers and civilians with regard to security clearance cases, but he also handles all aspects of VA disability cases as well. He represents disabled veterans in Alabama and throughout the United States.
We are proud of our partner Ron Sykstus and the work that he has done and continues to do on behalf of veterans.