MORGANTOWN – The Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic at West Virginia University received a donation of $22,000 recently that was raised by a local chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) at its Charity Clay Shoot, Dinner and Auction in October.
The Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic provides free legal services to veterans throughout the state, including anything from small civil claims to GI bill issues to disability benefits. The donation was received from the Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the AAPL.
The AAPL’s purpose, according to the local chapter's website, “... is to represent men and women engaged in all forms of land matters within the oil, gas and mineral industries.”
"This is the first year we were approached by the AAPL, and we hope to continue to work with them going forward. It’s a wonderful event and we really appreciate their support,” Jennifer Oliva, associate professor of Law and Public Health at West Virginia University and director of the WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic, told The West Virginia Record. She is also an Army veteran.
Oliva was approached by AAPL member Mike Kalany, who had seen an article about the WVU Veterans Advocacy Clinic several months ago.
“Mike Kalany approached us and said you know, we do these fundraisers two or three times and year and we love to support veterans' causes. Mike himself is a graduate of WVU and he’s a landman [AAPL member]. He actually approached me and said we’d love to work with you guys on this, and we were really excited,” Oliva said.
Although the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic is supported by the university, donations allow them to provide more services to veterans.
"The great thing about this clay shoot and the funds that were raised is that it gives us the ability to do more for more veterans," Oliva said. "For example, we have to get independent medical examinations for veterans a lot of times when they are applying for service-connected disability benefits, and it’s expensive to get those doctor examinations done. This kind of funding allows us to travel to veterans in the southern part of the state, get them to facilities that will do a good health workup on them. It gives them a much better shot at getting the entitlements they earned while serving the country. So it was a fantastic event for us.”
Oliva attended the fundraising event at the Hunting Hills Shooting Preserve in Dilliner, Pennsylvania.
“It’s pretty close to Morgantown. It’s a beautiful place," she said. "They had clay shooting, a steak dinner, a raffle and an auction. They have a nice pavilion where you can eat outside. It was a beautiful October day."
Anyone who would like to donate to the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic can do so by contacting Oliva at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 304-293-7249. You can also contact Oliva if you or a family member is a veteran in need of legal help.