Widener Law receives Delaware community service award
Public Relations - Published: September 18, 2013
Wills_for_Heroes_DelawareLOGO235pxWidener Law and its Wills For Heroes Program are being honored with a 2013 Delaware Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award for community service.

The awards program, facilitated by the Delaware Office of Volunteerism, honors individuals, groups, organizations or businesses who engage in volunteer activities that address community needs within the First State.

“We are immensely proud of the Wills For Heroes program at Widener Law,” Dean Linda L. Ammons said. “It has provided us the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of Delaware’s heroes, while our students benefit from a service learning experience. That in itself is rewarding, so news of this recognition is extra special. We are grateful for this honor.”

Widener Law became Delaware’s Wills For Heroes affiliate in 2009. The program provides wills and other end-of-life planning documents, such as advance directives, to Delaware first responders and their spouses/partners at no cost. Those eligible include active and retired, volunteer and paid, sworn and civilian members of the state, local, county and federal law enforcement, parole, probation, fire, EMS and other first-responder communities who live or serve in Delaware.

The program hosts document-preparation events approximately two to three Saturdays a year at locations around the First State. To date, it has provided vital documents to 452 people by executing eight successful events, with a ninth event planned for Oct. 5. The events represent thousands of donated volunteer hours from students, alumni, other attorneys and a core group of law school staff and faculty.

States must first have an affiliate Wills For Heroes organization in order to have document-preparation events. The affiliate coordinates the events. Each state may have only one affiliate. By stepping up and becoming the affiliate, Widener Law’s Delaware campus brought the program – and the opportunity for this free service – to all Delaware first responders.

Widener is the only law school in the country to serve as an affiliate to the Wills For Heroes program. Of 24 states with programs, the majority are affiliated with law firms. The program offers a unique service learning opportunity for Widener Law students who sit alongside the volunteer attorneys, and assist them in the document preparation.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award program is sponsored by the Office of Gov. Jack Markell, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the state Office of Volunteerism and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. The honor will be formally given at a dinner next month in Dover.

The Delaware campus Wills For Heroes program is co-coordinated by alumnus Damiano “Dom” DelPino ‘11 and Professor Alicia Kelly.