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Ohio State student gives $250,000 to create legal services program for veterans
By Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
Apr 7, 2013 - 4:48:27 PM
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Blackanthem Military News

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Veterans can receive free legal services through a new program starting in the fall of 2013 at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Capt. Jonathan D. Grassbaugh Veterans Project will address the staggering need for legal services in Ohio’s veteran community by placing clients with law students working under the supervision of licensed volunteer attorneys.

Often, service members return home only to face seemingly insurmountable challenges – foreclosure, debt crises and more. Yet, there currently is no centralized location where they can turn to for legal assistance. Those working closely with Ohio’s military community estimate 100,000 people qualify for legal services – and that tens of thousands of those people’s needs are not being met.

Realizing the great need out there is only likely to increase as our nation’s heroes are withdrawing from regions around the world, Capt. Jenna C. Grassbaugh decided to do something unprecedented for the school.

The 28-year-old is giving $250,000 to establish a free legal services program in memory of her husband. It is the first time in the school’s history that one of its current students has made a major gift of this size.

“Yes, people say that it’s like cutting away my safety net, but I don’t look at it that way,” Jenna Grassbaugh said of the insurance money she received after her husband was killed in action. “He would have wanted me to do this. His motto was non sibi – ‘not for oneself.’ He would have done this for me.”

Capt. Jonathan D. Grassbaugh was killed by a roadside bomb in Zaganiyah, Iraq on April 7, 2007. During his funeral, his new bride decided she would continue his mission and go on active duty, serving a tour in Iraq herself.

Today, Jenna Grassbaugh is in her second year of law school, with plans to spend her summer interning in the military’s legal affairs offices in Afghanistan. She intends to practice in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) program upon graduating in 2014.

The law school is continuing fundraising efforts in the hopes of matching Jenna Grassbaugh’s generous donation for a total of $500,000. It would provide for 2,000 hours of free legal service. If you could please include the following donation site in your coverage, we would truly appreciate it: http://giveto.osu.edu/grassbaughveteransproject/

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