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State Bar Representative Assembly to Honor Three Award Winners on Sept. 17

9/1/09

The State Bar of Michigan's Representative Assembly will present its Michael Franck and Unsung Hero Awards to three outstanding members of the legal community on Thursday, Sept. 17 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn. The presentation will take place at 9:35 a.m. during the assembly's general session, which is being held in conjunction with SBM's Annual Meeting.

Michael Franck Award

 
Bonner  

This year's Michael Franck Award winner is Daniel F. Bonner, managing attorney for Legal Aid of Western Michigan. He has dedicated his 26-year legal career to providing high-quality legal service to the needy and indigent in west Michigan. He is highly respected for choosing to work for those who need him most and can least afford his services. Those who have worked with him admire his ability to treat his clients with dignity and respect, a trait he also extends to opposing council and their clients. "He brings a special style to the practice of law, with politeness, civility, and humor that disarms contentious situations and resolves them with great speed," wrote one of his supporters. It's a style he has passed on to many up-and-coming legal aid attorneys, by volunteering his time and often traveling to train them at seminars.

Unsung Hero Award

Barkey Burris

The 2009 Unsung Hero award goes to Brian M. Barkey and Kelly K. Burris. Barkey, who is an attorney in Flint, has treated Genesee County residents to more than 10,000 free dinners in the past 17 years. In 1992 he founded Genesee County Bar Association's Community Holiday Dinner, and since then his team of volunteers—more than 1,500 total—have worked to provide a free dinner to attendees, have purchased free gifts and distributed them to over 5,000 children, and have raised over $75,000 to fund future dinners. He has also worked to make the needy more fit, by serving for more than 15 years on the Crim Fitness Foundation's board of directors, and working as a volunteer leader for its training program to prepare runners and walkers for the Crim Festival of Races, which supports the Special Olympics.

Kelly K. Burris, a patent attorney and shareholder at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione in Ann Arbor, often flies her 1962 Beechcraft Debonaire to meetings with clients across the country. She also volunteers her talents as a pilot to benefit those less fortunate. She has served as a volunteer with Air Charity Network, also known as Angel Flight, since 2003, transporting medical supplies and people with medical conditions who are unable to fly commercially to and from appointments with specialists. For the past two years, she and a co-pilot have competed in the Air Race Classic, an all-female, 2,400-plus mile race that dates to 1929. This June they won the race, and a $5,000 prize that, along with thousands of dollars they raised, they donated to Angel Flight.

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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
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