November 10, 2023

Veterans Day Tribute

Holland & Knight is proud to honor and celebrate the men and women who have served in the United States military to defend and protect our country, including those we are fortunate to call our very own. This year's tribute features more than 100 Holland & Knight lawyers and staff, and focuses on doing good work through raising awareness and providing pro bono and community service for veterans and their families. Here at Holland & Knight, we believe that veterans should be celebrated every day. We thank them and their families for your support, resilience and sacrifice.

The Veterans Group works to support service members, veterans and their families through legal, pro bono and community service activities. From 2016 to 2023, Holland & Knight has provided almost 40,000 pro bono hours for veteran/military-related matters.

Holland & Knight invites you to learn more about the Veterans Group initiative and our pro bono and community services.

Holland & Knight's Veterans Group was founded on the fundamental premise that those who have served our country and defended our freedoms deserve our talent and resources to improve their quality of life. Here at Holland & Knight, we believe that veterans should be supported and celebrated, not only on Veterans Day, but every day. From its inception, Holland & Knight was founded on the values of the United States military. Founding partners Spessard Holland and John Germany, along with the firm's first managing partner, Chesterfield Smith, all served in the United States Army.

Our Veterans Group's goal is "Do Good Work." And that mission is accomplished by raising awareness and by providing pro bono and community service for veterans and their families, in the cities and surrounding areas where each of our offices are located throughout the country. Since 2016, our firm has devoted nearly 40,000 pro bono hours with a total value of more than $26 million. And our attorneys and staff have prepared and delivered care packages to service members deployed around the globe. In 2022 alone, members of our firm dedicated over 5,500 hours toward veteran and military-related pro bono matters, which reached a value of nearly $4 million. Last year, Holland & Knight received the Outstanding Services Award from the ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center's Military Pro Bono Project, and several of our attorneys were recognized individually for their extraordinary pro bono services. Our Veterans Group is at the forefront of military and veteran initiatives nationwide, and we are fortunate to collaborate with many organizations that share our core values. At Holland & Knight, we honor the courageous efforts of all veterans, including our very own.

2:13 - Marisa Garcia: I heard very early on in my, in my Air Force career from a drill sergeant that said, “Put your head down, focus on your team, do everything you can in your power to do the best of your ability. The accolades, the success, the recognition will be a natural symptom of that work.” I grew up as an Army brat. My dad was a lieutenant colonel in the army. My grandfather on my mom’s side was in the Army Air Corps and was a pilot. And then my grandfather on my dad's ’Ide was at Pearl Harbor in the Navy. Doing good work starts with wanting to help. Having that good nature in you that wants to give back. Is providing excellent service to well-deserving people and then causing a positive outcome or impacting your community because of that. Foster the sense of community to give back to what these people felt when they were in the service. The brotherhood, the sisterhood, the belonging by not just giving these people an opportunity to come together and hang out and talk and share stories and just have that camaraderie again, I think it's as simple as putting on a meal, putting on an activity, anything, and not focusing on solving an illegal issue. Let's just create a sense of community.

3:55 - James Lockett: My name is James Lockett, and I was in the United States Army for about eight years on active duty. Service is important, and it's something that's been important my life, that's been important to my reason for joining the military, ultimately. And I think the firm really does like to put its money where its mouth is, and they really emphasize the importance of service back to your community. There's a tremendous amount of resources, I think, that veterans are unaware of. And so I think that, and in regard to that, we do a lot of discharge upgrades and things like that here at Holland & Knight, among other things. But just assisting them and letting them know what kind of resources are out there for them. It's really important to remember where you came from and remember the people who helped get you here, whether that's your family and your mentors, other veterans, whoever that may be. So I would say that, you know, that that's extraordinarily important and you can't forget that.

6:09 - Nelson Giovani Leiva: There's three core values that we live by in the Coast Guard, which is honor, respect and devotion to duty. Those three core values actually kind of play huge in the civilian world as well. So with honor, it's doing the job that you were tasked to do and doing it to the best of your abilities, even when nobody is watching you. Respect, treat everybody with respect, no matter who they are, no matter what background they are, where they come from. Everybody, you know, gets treated with respect. And devotion to duty is basically get it done at all costs and having that burning desire to do your work and do it to the best of your abilities. I had always wanted to do something that was greater than myself and always wanted to venture out and at the same time do something that was greater than me. And I feel like this was one way to do it. Venturing off and doing something different, it seems, it's always going to feel scary because it's uncomfortable at first, but it's, it's going to help you in the long run.

7:13 - Michelle Y. Davis: I enlisted in the Marine Corps during high school and left for boot camp at 18 years old. Initially, my plan for military service was centered around having a military career and computer programming and money to attend college in the future. In the Marine Corps I learned structure and discipline, dedication to service and leadership. Those traits were instilled in me. They continue to shape my life today. I have and still continue to volunteer my time to many nonprofits in the Tampa Bay area. My favorite service is to Girl Scouts. I've served as a troop leader, an assistant leader and an adviser. The idea of service didn't end with my time in the Marine Corps. For me, I continue to strive to do good work in service to my local community where I live every day.

8:25 - James E. Clarke: I served 22 years in the Naval Reserve. I did three as active duty and the remaining on in reserve. I'm also a member of the OPC DEI Committee. So the cohesiveness and the brotherhood is what I carried on in the military and also in my current job. I feel like working together with different cultures, different type of people, different type of backgrounds, gives you different perspectives about each other. I met my wife in the reserve. We both came at a time when we were not looking for love, but love found us. You really don't truly understand the sacrifice that any military member basically put on to protect this country. And they sacrifice not only their lives, but their livelihood. I would just like to encourage people to look at veterans and not only say, "Thank you for your service," but just to say, "Thank you," period.

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