The Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart (District of Columbia, WA) have been actively pursuing its commitment to community service through a variety of diverse avenues.
Last December, the firms’ employees and family members donated seven boxes of humanitarian aid to the U.S. Marines, who manage civil affairs in the town of Now Zad in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. This area of Afghanistan was virtually abandoned in 2009, due to violence in the region. However, the area is now being rebuilt successfully with help from the U.S. Marines Corps and concerned American citizens. Basic school, health, and hygienic items are sought for distribution to members of the Now Zad community. Stewart and Stewart last year collected and sent goods to Now Zad sought by medical personnel and teachers, as well as Afghan families who needed blankets, children’s clothing, school supplies, and basic first aid and hygienic items.
Stewart and Stewart was first apprised of the need in Now Zad by firm employee Staff Sergeant Tom Davis, who served as a Reservist in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. On August 2, 2009, Staff Sergeant Davis was activated for duty to be deployed with the 4th Civil Affairs Group (CAG), to Helmand Province Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Thereafter, Staff Sergeant Davis redeployed to the United States in June 2010, and he returned to his civilian employment at Stewart and Stewart on October 4, 2010. During and after his time in Afghanistan, and even during the several months prior to his activation, Staff Sergeant Davis found Stewart and Stewart to be extremely supportive and proud of his military service.
So much so, in fact, that, upon his return to the states, Staff Sergeant Davis nominated Stewart and Stewart’s Managing Partner, Terry Stewart, for an award called “The Patriot Employer Award.” This is an award given by the U.S. Department of Defense to individuals whose firms have shown exceptional support for persons employed by them who are in the U.S. National Guard and Reserves.
In submitting his nomination of Terry Stewart for the Patriot Employer Award, Staff Sergeant Davis advised the U.S. Department of Defense that he had received constant and strong support from his employer for his service in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Davis stated that such support had been communicated to him directly by Terry Stewart over lunch. Staff Sergeant Davis wrote that he was told personally by Terry that his position at the firm was assured and his job would in fact be held open for him until he completed his deployment in Afghanistan. In fact, Staff Sergeant Davis was told by Terry that he could take as much time off as he needed when he returned from active duty, so he could adjust more easily to civilian life. In submitting his nomination of Terry for the award, Staff Sergeant Davis wrote that this same level of support for him was demonstrated by the firm in the care packages and well wishes he received from Stewart and Stewart’s attorneys, staff, and their families during his seven month deployment. Staff Sergeant Davis wrote that the firm’s moral and material support made a difficult deployment less so, and made his readjustment to civilian life quicker and easier.
Thanks to Staff Sergeant Davis’s heartfelt regard for the support he received during his deployment as a Reservist in the U.S. Marines, “The Patriot Employer Award” was presented to Terry Stewart on January 21, 2010, by Mr. Van A. Samuel of the “Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Section” of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Recognizing that there is, and will continue to be, an ongoing need for the continued donation of goods to Now Zad, Stewart and Stewart plans to continue its work in this regard and invites others to join the effort. Further information regarding the work of the United Sates in Now Zad can be viewed here:
Stewart and Stewart is also devoted to The Sankofa Project, a 501(c)(3) organization, which promotes the participation by female students in school-based team sports, and encourages the enforcement of Title IX – the federal law that prohibits discrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funding.
Specifically, The Sankofa Project is working with the public school system in Washington, D.C., to remedy the decline of female students’ participation in school-based team sports. The organization seeks to stimulate awareness of, and interest in, the rewarding career paths that can be attained through academic excellence and athletic scholarships to college. This summer, as it has done for the past three summers, The Sankofa Project will send Stewart and Stewart four of its high school-level program participants to work at the firm, where they will gain experience in a professional work environment. The Sankofa Project has been appreciative of the community support it has received. It has used donations provided by Stewart and Stewart to help cover the cost of Sankofa’s Second Annual Title IX Conference and Banquet held at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., where Russlynn Ali, Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, and, Lara Kaufmann, Sr., Counsel of the National Women's Law Center, gave presentations and engaged in discussions with more than 160 female students, coaches and parents. This article in the Washington City Paper discusses the positive impact that The Sankofa Project has had, and is having, on the public schools in our area: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/40076/dc-keeps-whiffing-on-title-ix-girls-sports-have-long/.
Additional information about donating to The Sankofa Project can be found on its website at http://www.sankofaproject.org.
Activities also enjoyed by Stewart and Stewart in contributing to the community have included participation in the Primerus Liberty in Law Program, a local and national competition for high school scholarships based on student essays. More recently, the firm has continued its efforts to mentor law students about career choices and provided donations to both Toys for Tots and the Capital Area Food Bank. The firm has long supported the food bank and, in 2009, participated in the Capital Area Food Bank’s “Outlaw Hunger Campaign,” where it donated over 2,700 pounds to alleviate starvation. Members of the firm also periodically serve food to the needy at locations around the city in conjunction with So Others Might Eat (SOME), an interfaith organization that for over 40 years has been caring for the homeless and extremely poor citizens of Washington, D.C.