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Lawyers make a difference for people and for society.
They solve legal problems, provide free legal help to
the poor, and give time to many other community efforts.

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community service

Appellate Practice Section's Good Deeds Committee Delivers

Everybody was 'lovin it

Phil DeRosier of Dickinson Wright, Marilena David-Martin of the State Appellate Defender's Office (SADO), Beth Whittman of Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook and Danielle Schoeney of Sommers Schwartz.

The State Bar Appellate Practice Section's "Good Deeds Committee" recently hooked up with the Ronald McDonald House, and everybody was 'lovin it.

APS volunteers provided families staying at the Ronald McDonald House with a full banquet meal that included rotisserie chicken, roasted vegetables, cheesy potatoes, antipasto salad, burritos and rice. The volunteers designed the menu, provided all the food, served it to the families, and even cleaned up afterward. But perhaps most importantly, they got to spend time and get to know the families, whose children are hospitalized for varying reasons at Detroit Children's Hospital.

Good Deeds Committee member Marilena David-Martin of the State Appellate Defender's Office (SADO), who was one of the founders of the committee and one of the members who came up with the idea of serving the families at the RMH, said getting to know the families and their stories was arguably the most rewarding part of the endeavor.

During the meal, Martin sat down with the mother of a 6-year-old girl, Gabrielle, who had been hospitalized for quite a while. Gabrielle's body was rejecting a heart that she was lucky enough to receive as a transplant more than a year earlier. Martin said the young mother seemed to welcome the company.

"We talked for a while and, just like any mom, she loved to talk about her daughter and show pictures of her playing dress up," Martin recalled. "She told me how one of the nurses bought Gabrielle a squirt gun, so the staff now knows to run past Gabrielle's door whenever it's open because they know she's a good shot!"

Martin said Gabrielle had been in and out of the hospital since she was a baby, and that the mother was thankful she was able to stay at the RMH and that she could be so close to Gabrielle while at the same time getting to sleep in a comfortable bed.

"Even though she didn't have much of an appetite, she was thankful that groups like ours brought in hot, homemade food so that she could have the energy to do it all again the next day," Martin said.

The idea to team up with the RMH was the brainchild of Martin and fellow APS and Good Deeds Committee members Danielle Schoeney of Sommers Schwartz, Anthony Caffrey of Cardelli, Lanfear & Buikema. Phil DeRosier of Dickinson Wright, and Beth Whittman of Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook. Martin said they chose the RMH because the APS council members come from a variety of fields, walks of life, experiences, etc., and she wanted to choose a charity that everyone could get excited about.

"The RMH is one charity that I think everyone agrees is very deserving and that serves our community in an invaluable way," Martin said.

Martin said it was a great experience and expressed her gratitude for the team of volunteers from APS, who paid for everything out of their own pockets.

"From the beginning, everyone was just willing to do anything that was needed to make this a successful event," she said. "At every section meeting, I am impressed with the intelligence, professionalism and collegiality of my fellow council members, but participating in this event with them took it to a new level. To see the kindness, enthusiasm and compassion that these lawyers have for helping people is to me, the most impressive of all."

Do you have a Pro Bono or Community Service story to share?
it today to be included in our "A Lawyer Helps" story bank.

ronaldmc Danielle Schoeney of Sommers Schwartz Beth Whittman of Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook, Phil DeRosier of Dickinson Wright, and Marilena David-Martin of the State Appellate Defender's Office (SADO) start food preparations.

The volunteers designed the menu, provided all the food, served it to the families, and even cleaned up afterward.



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