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Public Counsel and Elizabeth Dole Celebrate Lifetime of Service and Launch New Project for Military Caregivers at 2013 Douglas Dinner

Elizabeth Dole at the 2013 William O. Douglas Dinner

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In her lifetime of public service, Elizabeth Dole has been many things: two-time cabinet secretary, former U.S. senator and head of the American Red Cross.

On September 12, Public Counsel honored her with our 2013 William O. Douglas Award and launched a new chapter.

Senator Dole told the audience of nearly 1,000 at the Beverly Hilton about the creation of a new project with Public Counsel's Center for Veterans Advancement, the American Bar Association, and the Military Officers Association of America to meet the legal needs of an estimated 1 million caregivers who meet the everyday needs of wounded, disabled or elderly service members and veterans.

"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," said Senator Dole.

"Too many veterans return to life on the streets instead of a stable job and career. Too many struggle with the day-to-day basics when life-changing benefits are within reach," said Public Counsel President and CEO Hernán Vera. "Caregivers are standing by their side, and they deserve that same support through legal help." 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presented the Douglas Award to Senator Dole, and videos from music legend Garth Brooks, actor Gary Sinise, Jay Leno, and former Cabinet Secretaries Donna Shalala and George Shultz paid tribute to Senator Dole's remarkable achievements in public safety and service.

Award winning actor and National President of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Ken Howard emceed the gala night.

We are building a bridge of opportunity

The power of pro bono law and public service was on display throughout the night.

Public Counsel awarded the Corporate Achievement Award to City National Bank.

"Nowhere is the commitment to pro bono law stronger than in Los Angeles. That starts with Public Counsel," said Christopher J. Warmuth, President of City National Bank and Executive Vice President of City National Corporation, as he accepted the award.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP received the Law Firm Pro Bono Award in recognition of its legal support of small businesses and people in need of justice.

"There is no work more important to our firm than this. We do pro bono services not because we can, but because we should," said William R. Dougherty, Chairman of Simpson Thacher's Executive Committee, who accepted the award.

The 2013 William O. Douglas Dinner raised over $2.3 million to support Public Counsel’s nationally recognized legal work on behalf of children, families, veterans, asylum seekers, small businesses and nonprofits and the more than 30,000 individuals we serve each year. 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.

"Together we are building a bridge of opportunity so wide that everyone willing to work hard can walk across on their own and have a real chance at participating fully in the economic rights and responsibilities of our society," said Public Counsel's Vera. "We at Public Counsel are proud to be building that bridge every single day."