FORT STORY, Va. – Judge advocates and paralegals from the 151st Legal Operations Detachment (LOD) provided legal assistance to more than 70 Army Reserve soldiers from the 18th Field Hospital during their treatment for the Soldier Readiness (SRP) event at Fort Story Army Reserve Center Nov 19-20, 2022.
Capt. Jessica Denison (Buffalo, NY), Headquarters, 18th Field Hospital Company Commander, planned and oversaw this SRP for over 180 Army Reserve Soldiers to prioritize individual-level readiness in preparation for future mobilizations or deployments. The SRP focused on administrative and medical preparedness, such as reviewing human resource records, scheduling physical health assessments, and providing legal assistance to support soldiers and their families.
Staff Sgt. Erica Alvidrez (Los Angeles, CA), was the legal assistance program manager in support of this SRP. Alvidrez enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2013 and was reclassified as a paralegal in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2019. She shared that the ability to help people is what makes her proud to serve. . talking with soldiers and some of them who have never been on active duty. They’re nervous, so this is an opportunity to not only square them up legally, but also help them feel more confident to go do something new.
She advises the importance of PRSs like these to ensure soldiers and their families are aware of available legal services and resources. Details such as names on mortgages and deeds, beneficiaries on wills, assignment of powers of attorney, are among the many things soldiers learned were possible to create, update and organize during these events.
Capt. Tricia Nicewicz (Columbus, OH) led the Legal Support Team this weekend as the Army Reserve Judge Advocate. She said that while many soldiers think they may not need legal help, talking to a paralegal and going through scenarios can still be beneficial for them and/or their families.
For example, Nicewicz reframed the importance of an advance medical directive to provide for their loved ones in the event of a major decision being made regarding that soldier’s care. “As soldiers, we are often told not to think about ourselves. We wear this uniform to put the needs of others before our own, so I remind them,” Nicewicz explained, “that this also applies to their family: in times of emotional crisis, their family does not have to ask what they would like. It’s there, it’s notarized, and they won’t find themselves in a scenario where there are fights between family members during this emotional time.
It is recommended whenever a soldier has a major life event to update their will accordingly. The most common updates Nicewicz encounters include adding segments to include future children, updating property loss or gain, and confirming beneficiaries in the event of marriage or divorce.
“For me, legal assistance is one of the most important jobs we can do,” she said. “You’re not just helping this soldier; you help their families in case the worst things happen. For me and these PRS, it’s about being able to give these soldiers and their families peace of mind. What greater service can I do than to give back to people who are leaving their homes and perhaps putting their lives on the line… making sure that by doing this they know their families are being taken care of.
Legal Assistance is available and free to all soldiers and can be requested through the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command website at https://www.usar.army.mil/LegalCommand/. Soldiers can also use the website to find an LOD near them to request assistance. While legal assistance may focus on last wills and testaments, powers of attorney, and medical directives, the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command and the military as a whole also provide legal services including military justice. , special legal advice for victims and advocacy services.
|Date posted:||12.02.2022 10:27|
|Location:||FORT STORY, Virginia, USA|
This work, People First: The Importance of Legal Aid for Soldiers and Their Familiesby CPT Nancy Drapezaidentified by DVDmust follow the restrictions listed at https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.
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