A retired veteran of the Air Force Nurse Corps, Massachusetts Bar Association member Patricia M. Dunn knows what it means to serve. This is why, after retiring from work as a registered nurse practitioner and attending Suffolk University Law School, Dunn has not stopped serving.
Dunn, who runs the Law Offices of Patricia M. Dunn in Weymouth, continues to help her fellow veterans by taking on veterans' cases pro bono. It all started with one case.
"By happenstance I helped a friend obtain death and indemnity benefits from the VA after her husband died from a service-connected condition. This began a journey into veterans' law. I began pro-bono activities with the National Veterans Legal Services Program and have been doing some of their cases on the appellate level since 2005," she explains.
A fair number of the cases that Dunn deals with involve getting benefits to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. According to the National Veterans Legal Service Program, more than 1,100 men and women were medically separated from service due to PTSD just in the current military conflicts.
Dunn works with veterans of not only the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Korea, Vietnam and World War II. One case in particular dates all the way back to 2006, and the applicant is still pitching for benefits.
Dunn also is working cases of retroactive benefits. With the ever-emerging information about the use and exposure of veterans to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, there is plenty of work to go around.
But Dunn doesn't see it as work.
"I am privileged to help those who preserve our way of life," she says. "We can use many more attorneys in this field."