Baylor Law School recognized retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Rochelle and Christie Ryan of Dunnam & Dunnam as its 2017 Advocates of the Year at its Waco-McLennan County Bar Association Veterans Day luncheon on Nov. 10.
The annual award is given to the Baylor Law School Veterans Clinic volunteer lawyers who go above and beyond in pro bono legal service to veterans and their spouses in the past year. The luncheon was sponsored by a grant from the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Ryan has advocated for veterans in family law cases since the founding of the clinic. She has taken on difficult divorce and custody cases and has served veterans whose personal lives are in crisis. She attended Tyler Junior College, then graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
She went on to receive her Juris Doctor degree from Baylor Law School in 2008. Ryan practices law in Waco as a member of Dunnam & Dunnam. She is board-certified in family law.
For over three years, Rochelle, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, has brought his expertise on VA disability benefits to bear at the monthly legal advice clinics. After attending college in Memphis, Rochelle served two tours in Vietnam as an Air Force helicopter pilot.
His helicopter was shot out of the sky by the North Vietnamese on one flight. Rochelle suffered a broken back and the rest of the crew was severely injured. They fought off the enemy while waiting for rescue. For his actions, Rochelle was awarded the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After retiring from the Air Force, Rochelle went to law school at Texas Wesleyan and retired after working for many years at the Veterans Affairs office in Waco.
Baylor Law Students who served in the armed services also were honored at the luncheon. They are Angela Gowing, Kevin Miller, Willem VanZeben, Drew Beatty, Taylor McConnell, Stephen Carl, Mark Siegmund and David Shatto.