MU Law School hosts veterans symposium
COLUMBIA - Just in time for Veterans Day, MU School of Law Veterans Clinic hosted its annual veterans symposium focusing on ways to help veterans returning from war deal with medical issues stemming from military service.
Chris Dunn was the keynote speaker. Dunn is a lawyer and veteran of the first Gulf War. He now runs a company making maps using geospatial technology. He said speaking at events is his own way of giving back.
"I'm one of the lucky ones," Dunn said. "This is my chance to give back to the folks that didn't have the same luck I had. My time in the service greatly helped me grow and develop, gave me direction. But I know not everybody came back with the same health and mental fitness. I have a very limited set of skills, and I try to use those to help my fellow veterans."
Angela Drake, director of the Veterans Clinic, said she's thrilled to have events like the symposium at the law school.
"This is the capstone project for my fall class. Students work really hard all semester to get ready and we get our ideas from our actual clients in the clinic. It's super meaningful to know we are going to do a symposium we know is going to help our clients."
Drake said she was happy with community turnout.
"Sadly, we turn veterans away every week at the clinic because we don't have the capacity," Drake said. "There's one lawyer and eight students. There's only so much we can do, but we are really blessed that we have a robust referral list that we get from symposia like this and people signing up to help veterans."
Dunn said he enjoys working in veterans' law.
"This isn't something you get into because you want to get rich," Dunn said. "It's something you do because you really want to make a difference. This is my basic responsibility. I'm trying to live a life I want my son to follow and see and I want my dad to see and be proud of."
Dunn said he hopes audience members leave with an awareness and possibly a better understanding of a technology people can use to help create evidence for a medical case stemming from military service. He said he "wants to connect the people with the tool."