William Beaumont Army Medical Center's Center Judge Advocate (CJA) Office was recently recognized with the Army Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance (Active Army - Small Offices), for fiscal year 2017.
WBAMC is the only office to be recognized in the Active-Army Small Office category. Categories are determined by number of attorneys (one to five legal attorneys for small office categories).
During fiscal year 2017, the office provided over 2,018 legal services to WBAMC personnel and patients, saving the community over $507,000 in legal fees.
"Our Soldiers live and work in an environment that presents many challenges due to a fast and diverse operational tempo. Such an environment requires our Soldiers to be ready on short notice to perform military duties here and abroad to accomplish the Army's vital missions," wrote Col. Erik Rude, commander, WBAMC, on the nomination form for the CJA. "The CJA's legal support has been crucial in order for us to continue to meet our mission goals."
In addition, WBAMC administered an on-site ad hoc tax program resulting in recognition of Olga Sinquefield, an attorney-advisor with the CJA office, by the Internal Revenue Service for leading the 2017 WBAMC Tax Program. The program, managed solely by WBAMC personnel, produced over 185 tax returns with refunds totaling over $450,000.
The award was weighed on the quality of legal assistance provided to Soldiers, their families and other eligible clients, innovations to provide better assistance, professional development of attorneys and personnel and the quality of the preventive law program.
"Those (2,018 legal services) aren't just numbers, your office has become fixated upon who the consumer is and how can you serve them," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, commanding general, Regional Health Command-Central, U.S. Army Medical Command. "Sometimes that (service) is to a person, sometimes to the commander, many times to supervisors. I couldn't be more proud of you. You're a great group of professionals."
Also receiving the recognition for excellence from the U.S. Army Chief of Staff is the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Office of the Staff Judge Advocate in the Active Army - Large Office category.
The Legal Assistance Office serves WBAMC active-duty service members and eligible family members, retired military personnel and eligible family members who are inpatients at WBAMC, and reserve-component service members on orders at WBAMC for 30 days or more. Legal services include legal counseling on matters such as marriage, divorce, adoption, military family support, consumer law, real estate, military administrative actions, and taxes.