More Clients Served Through Sgt. Harry Fund Designated Dollars Will Benefit Volunteer Lawyers Program
The Sgt. Harry Fund at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland was inaugurated with funds from the first annual John and Ginny Elam Pro bono Award, presented to Legal Aid board member David Kutik at the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2008 Annual Meeting. The $5,000 award will be leveraged with donations from individual donors to support Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) and its work in neighborhoods throughout Northeast Ohio. The Fund is named for David Kutik’s father, Harry Kutik, who was born in 1924.
Orphaned at an early age, Harry spent his childhood in foster homes. He graduated from high school in 1941 and enlisted in the Army where he rose to the rank of Sergeant. On the last day of World War II in Europe, Sgt. Harry was struck by thirteen sniper bullets. Miraculously, he survived, but was rendered a paraplegic. Sgt. Harry returned home to face obstacles every day – from dealing with activities of daily living to learning how to drive. He had to cope with life decades before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed – there were no wheelchair ramps, no handicapped parking places. Yet, despite all of the difficulties that he encountered, Sgt. Harry’s friends and family were continually amazed by his positive spirit and equanimity in the face of daily challenges. He lived every day trying to make life better for others.
David Kutik, during his time as president of the Cleveland Bar Association in 2004-05, honored his father’s memory by harnessing Cleveland’s wealth of legal talent to serve the unmet needs of the region’s poor. The resulting initiative was Our Commitment to Our Community; a program which infused hundreds of volunteers into Legal Aid’s pro bono initiatives.
The Sgt. Harry Fund will help the legacy of Harry Kutik live on. More importantly, the Fund will provide a vehicle for Legal Aid to secure multiyear commitments from individuals who support the vision of the VLP and recognize the need for pro bono legal services in the community.
To Give to the Sgt. Harry Fund, contact Melanie Shakarian, Esq. at 216-861-5217 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the VLP, contact Managing Attorney Ann McGowan Porath at 216-861-5332 or email@example.com.