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Oklahoma Lawyers Making Equal Justice for all a Reality


Support for Legal Aid

Friday, June 25, 2010

In support of Legal Aid:  Bill Lobeck left),
Kathy Taylor, and Donna and George Nigh.

Community leaders from businesses, foundations and law firms were among the guests when George and Donna Nigh joined Kathy Taylor and Bill Lobeck in their home to host a reception for the Campaign for Legal Aid.

The Nighs are co-chairmen of the campaign, which has a goal of $750,000.

Governor Nigh told the crowd, "As Oklahomans, we are fortunate to have beautiful sunsets, sparkling lakes, clean air and an economy that doesn't seem to suffer as much as those in other states.

"But, it's important for us to look beyond the scenic beauty and the comfort of our lives to make sure our state is providing the services needed by our citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. Donna and I ask you to please consider the crucial nature of free legal assistance to a low-income person with a basic civil legal problem, needing a lawyer's help.

"If we don't provide help with their housing, domestic violence or other legal problem, we are keeping them from taking care of their families. Legal Aid is the only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to providing low-income people with vital civil legal assistance."

The mission of Legal Aid is "to be a partner in the justice community making equal justice for all a reality." In real terms, Legal Aid is the statewide non-profit that provides free civil legal aid to Oklahomans at the poverty line.

Gayla Machell, Director of Marketing and Development at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc., said, "The cases are simple (child support and custody, domestic violence, housing problems and wrongfully getting cut off from government benefits.) The organization also helps people get signed up for Medicare and with foreclosures for people who are unemployed."

The money raised by Campaign for Justice fills in the holes of our budget caused by a 13.9 percent state cutback, decreases from many United Ways and aging organizations. Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma Inc. is the only statewide organization in Oklahoma that provides free Legal Aid to poor people. We have 21 offices and cover all 77 counties. It served 17,000 people in 2009.

Among those at the event were Budge Lewis, Nancy and Ray Feldman, Jim Bender, Senator Brian Crain, Elaine and Doug Dodd, Elizabeth and Chris Ellison, Judge Jane Wiseman and Jim Hodges, Dallas Ferguson and Sharon Smith, Phil Frazier, Karen Langdon, Representative Lucky Lamons, Judge Millie Otey, Jim Proszek, Sue Woodward and Tim Grogan.

Also, Molly & Brian Aspan, Peter Bradford, Jack Brown, Fred Cornish, Deirdre O'Neal Dexter, Jeanne Gillert, Scott Hamilton, Gerald Jackson, John Kenney, George Krumme, Patrick Layden, Linda Lepak, Kim and Jim Love, Jim Proszek, Sharon Phillips, Amy and Pete Regan, David Riggs, Dwight Smith, Steve Soule, Tamara and Marc Wagman, Adrienne Watt and Leta and Bruce Wilbanks.

By DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer



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