Disabled American Veterans’ 2014 Oustanding Disabled American Veteran
The Corte Bella Vets guest speaker for their March meeting was the 2014 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year – Roger K Ferland. In 1968, Mr. Ferland was diverted from law school when he was drafted into the Army. Sent to Vietnam, he first served as a squad leader and then platoon sergeant before he lost both legs and severely injured an arm when he stepped on an explosive device. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor (V) device, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. In 1974, he graduated from Duke University Law School and began a distinguished career in environmental law.
Mr. Ferland has written several publications and proposed rules on Greenhouse Gas Emissions regulations as well as opportunities in Renewable Energy Projects in Indian Country. After practicing for more than 35 years and serving on the Military Legal Assistance Committee of the Arizona State Bar, the DAV Chapter Service Officer worked with his local DAV to spearhead clinics providing pro bono legal assistance to veterans, particularly in the area of family law.
After receiving the DAV Outstanding Disabled Veteran award for 2014, his immediate response was to ask “Why me?” “We were blessed to survive our injuries while many others did not”. “That precious gift of survival imposed a responsibility to do something meaningful with our lives, and that responsibility is continuing and will continue as long as we live”.
Gerry Berger, a veteran and Corte Bella resident coordinated the program for the CB Vets. Mr. Ferland talked about his early childhood and other events leading up to his college days and the draft in 1968. As a platoon Sergeant serving in Vietnam in 1970, he stepped on a mine and discussed his experience of evacuation and recovery.
A CBS video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2INkFnGJQM) depicts the exact location of his unit and the other servicemen that were rescued and taken back to Hawk Hill. His passion after he returned to the USA was to complete law school and dedicate his time to Veterans, helping the blind and conservation issues. His efforts on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) continue today providing veterans with support on Wills, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney and other valuable legal benefits that are much needed and not currently provided to Veterans by the VA. Over 50 attendees attended the event and Mr. Ferland answered questions after his presentation. Mr. Ferland continues to give back and his efforts are greatly appreciated.
Submitted by Michael McVeigh, Corte Bella Vet