Widener University Delaware Law School Emeritus Professor Thomas J. Reed is being honored with the 2016 Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award given through the Delaware Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award program.
The program, from the Delaware Office of Volunteerism, honors adult individuals, groups, organizations or businesses who engage in volunteer activities that address community needs within the First State.
Reed founded the program that became Delaware Law School’s Veterans Law Clinic. He directed the program from its start in 1997 until his retirement in 2010. He continues to volunteer with the clinic and has logged 902 service hours since his retirement. Also, Reed has contributed free legal work to 14 Delaware nonprofit organizations over the last 22 years. His nomination recognized him for serving groups as varied as breast cancer survivors, creative arts enthusiasts, and Underground Railroad historians, as it placed the greatest emphasis on his service to U.S. veterans – his most profound contribution in the First State.
“We are so pleased to see the state of Delaware and Gov. Markell recognize Tom in this way,” said Veterans Law Clinic Director and Visiting Assistant Professor Amber Baylor. “His dedication to public service is an inspiration to all of us who work alongside him in the clinic. Tom’s depth of knowledge in this area of the law and his tireless advocacy work make him a valued resource to the clinic and his veteran clients.”
Reed, of Old New Castle, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. The clinic he founded has recovered more than $9 million in benefits owed to American veterans as it has provided service-learning opportunities for law students. Students represent veterans in their appeals under the supervision Baylor, clinic attorneys and Reed. About 50 attorneys from the community also represent clinic clients on a pro bono basis, with support from the clinic.
“I am deeply honored by my selection to receive this governor’s award,” Reed said. “Much of my pro bono work in tribute to U.S. veterans has been possible through the Veterans Law Clinic. I am proud to remain part of this effort in my retirement, and to continue interacting with the student interns, who are our next generation of legal public servants.”
The honor will be formally given at a public dinner Oct. 19 in Dover. More information is available at VolunteerDelaware.org.
This marks the fourth consecutive year a Delaware Law program or individual has been recognized. The school’s Wills For Heroes program was honored in 2013, its Veterans Law Clinic in 2014 and its Delaware Civil Law Clinic last year.