Fort Drum legal assistance staff earns Army Award for Excellence


Cpl. Aaron Pirwitz, paralegal, assists a client, Fort Drum Legal Assistance Office (Photo: Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — For the third year in a row, a team from Fort Drum has been recognized by the U.S. Army.

The United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Crops announced that the Fort Drum Legal Assistance Office earned an Army Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance, specifically in the Active Army Large Offices category.

According to Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs, this office provides free legal advice on a wide variety of issues ranging from family and domestic relations law, estate planning, property and income tax and civilian criminal matters.

These services are available to all component members of all branches of service and their family members, retirees and their family members and other specified persons under federal law.

“Our mission is to assist our clients with their personal legal affairs in a timely and professional manner by meeting their needs for information on personal legal matters and resolving their personal legal problems whenever possible,” said Fort Drum Legal Assistance Office Chief Dwight Austin.“ The fact that we have been recognized for what we do three years in a row is directly attributable to the outstanding efforts of the entire team.”

During fiscal year 2020, the office staff supported 3,342 appointments and provided over 7,400 client services; an estimated $1.5 million worth of legal services.

Austin stated that the majority of appointments were conducted telephonically until face-to-face meetings could resume during COVID-19.

Criteria evaluated for the award included office staffing and training plan; an assessment of the quality of legal assistance provided to clients, and efforts to better assist clients’ needs.

Austin also listed members of the FY2020 team that contributed to the office’s success in achieving this award.

This included:  Major Ryan MacGillis, Captain Amir Hamdoun, Captain Jeffery Hatfield, Captain Tanner Jameson, Captain James Kemnitz, Captain Joseph Roman, Captain M. Oliver Shaw, Captain Andrew Logan, Captain Andrew Bobowski, Shawn Graham, Marshall Eves, Spc. Roberto Martinez, and Spc. Joshua Reid.

The Fort Drum Legal Assistance Office is located in Room A2-68, Clark Hall, Bldg. 10720, Mount Belvedere Boulevard.

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