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Legal Aid Society presents first leadership awards

Posted on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

STAFF WRITER

kelly lapczynski

Haven of Hope Executive Director Mona Mason and the Manchester law firm of Rogers, Duncan & North were honored Tuesday night as the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands presented its inaugural Tullahoma Community Award and the Pro Bono Leadership Award during a reception at the Atlantic Street office.

The awards, presented by Executive Director Gary Housepian, recognized Mason and the law firm for their work to provide “equal access to justice” to the Coffee County community.

Mason was recognized with the Community Award for her “work to improve the community by increasing and enhancing services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore Counties.”

Under Mason’s leadership, Haven of Hope began partnering with Legal Services of South Central Tennessee (the predecessor to Tullahoma’s Legal Aid Society) in 1997 to help guide survivors through the civil legal system.

Legal Aid Society Executive Director Gary Housepian (left) presents Haven of Hope Executive Director Mona Mason with the society’s inaugural Community Award.  The award, given Tuesday, recognizes Mason’s work to enhance services for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault in Coffee and surrounding counties.   – Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

Legal Aid Society Executive Director Gary Housepian (left) presents Haven of Hope Executive Director Mona Mason with the society’s inaugural Community Award. The award, given Tuesday, recognizes Mason’s work to enhance services for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault in Coffee and surrounding counties.
– Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

“Mona would never take credit for all of the amazing work that Haven of Hope does each day,” said Legal Aid Society’s managing attorney Iska Hoole.

“However, we honor her for having the vision and the determination to ensure that survivors in her service area are able to find the compassionate help and services they need. If Haven of Hope cannot provide the needed service, it collaborates with many other organizations, including Legal Aid Society, to be sure that the individual’s needs are met. The work of Mona Mason and Haven of Hope has strengthened the community in each county that it serves.”

Attorneys J. Stanley Rogers, Christina Henley Duncan and Edward H. North, individually and collectively as a firm, were recognized with the Pro Bono Leadership Award for their commitment to providing volunteer legal assistance to low-income individuals in Coffee County.

“About two years ago they took on a case that we don’t have the expertise to do and that we are actually prohibited from doing,” said Hoole, referring to an ongoing high-profile felony abuse case for a mentally handicapped client who might otherwise have gone without legal assistance.

“They knew it was going to be a long, involved case and – even knowing that – they took it on and everyone in the firm pitched in,” said Hoole.

The Legal Aid Society, located at 123 NW Atlantic St., Tuesday night honored Haven of Hope Executive Director Mona Mason (with plaque, left) and the Manchester law firm of Rogers, Duncan & North (J. Stanley Rogers with plaque, right) for their work to provide equal access to justice to the Coffee Coun-ty community.  From left are Legal Aid Society Executive Director Gary Housepian, Legal Aid attorney Norman Feaster and managing attorney Iska Hoole, Mason, Stanley, Christina Henley Duncan, Edward H. North and Willis C. McKee, an attorney with the Manchester firm.   – Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

The Legal Aid Society, located at 123 NW Atlantic St., Tuesday night honored Haven of Hope Executive Director Mona Mason (with plaque, left) and the Manchester law firm of Rogers, Duncan & North (J. Stanley Rogers with plaque, right) for their work to provide equal access to justice to the Coffee Coun-ty community. From left are Legal Aid Society Executive Director Gary Housepian, Legal Aid attorney Norman Feaster and managing attorney Iska Hoole, Mason, Stanley, Christina Henley Duncan, Edward H. North and Willis C. McKee, an attorney with the Manchester firm.
– Staff Photo by Chris Barstad

In addition to taking pro bono cases for Legal Aid Society, J. Stanley Rogers was the chair for the Tullahoma office’s annual fundraising Campaign for Equal Justice in 2014.

“We are thrilled to recognize the attorneys of Rogers, Duncan & North, though an award cannot express the depth of our appreciation for their service,” said Hoole. “The firm’s determination and exhaustive efforts changed a life and continue to be an inspiration to all of us.”

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands is Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, offering free civil legal representation, educational programs and advice to ensure people in its region are able to protect their livelihoods, their health and their families.

Funded in part by United Way, Legal Aid Society serves 48 counties in the state.