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Lawyers assist vets; benefit Feb. 29

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2008
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Veterans of Valor, an organization to assist injured veterans and supported by a number of Indianapolis attorneys, will sponsor a fundraiser and open house Feb. 29 in Greenwood.

The event will feature a presentation of the organization's recently released Web site, www.veteransofvalor.org, as well as information about different ways to get involved.

The organization is seeking volunteers who can make a long-term commitment and those who only have enough time to help with short-term projects. Because the organization is relatively new, there are a number of issues where members of the legal community can assist, according to Hoover Hull attorney Patrick Olmstead, who has been working to get the organization off the ground.

Olmstead's neighbor, U.S. Marine Sgt. Klay South, was wounded in Fallujah, Iraq, and wanted to help fellow veterans. In a conversation on South's front lawn, Olmstead agreed to assist in any way he could with South's idea to start Veterans of Valor.

Olmstead, with the aid of Community Development Law Center attorneys in Indianapolis, set up Veterans of Valor as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Volunteers with the organization have traveled to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

While at the hospitals, Veterans of Valor volunteers distributed backpacks that are specially chosen to fit over wheelchairs. The backpacks contain personal entertainment devices such as iPods and hand-held video games, as well as breakaway pants that allow for easy care of leg wounds and amputations, shorts, T-shirts, and a pillow from the Patriotic Pillow Project.

South and Olmstead plan to take more trips to hospitals for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They also anticipate a Veterans of Valor-produced DVD and other materials to ease the veterans' transitions back into their lives in the United States.

The Veterans of Valor event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 29 at Knights of Columbus, 695 Pushville Road, Greenwood. Admission is free; donations will be accepted. A Lenten dinner of fish and chips will be available for $7.95 from 5 to 8 p.m., which includes soup, salad, and dessert. Knights of Columbus donated the space to Veterans of Valor for the event.

For more information about the fundraiser, contact Julia Olmstead, (317) 887-1942 or (317) 496-9891, or Jim Thomas at (317) 439-3512 or (317) 535-5632. More about the work of Veterans of Valor will be in a future edition of Indiana Lawyer.
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