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Brevard County Legal Aid’s 34th Annual Gala

admin - July 4, 2022 - 0 comments

Pictured are Award Winner Judge Kelly McKibben and Judge Jessica Recksiedler and Rob Rains

Judge Jessica Recksiedler presents Distinguished Judicial Service Award to
Kelly J. McKibben at Brevard County Legal Aid’s 34th Annual Gala

Over 130 invited guests from the legal and business community attended Brevard County Legal Aid’s Annual Pro Bono Awards and Recognition Gala on Friday, May 20, 2022 at Suntree Country Club. The annual dinner and awards event is a tribute to Brevard’s attorneys who contribute free legal assistance to help persons who are unable to afford private counsel.

Circuit Court Chief Judge Jessica Recksiedler was the special guest for the evening. Judge Recksiedler delivered an inspirational speech focusing on the importance of public service and, in particular, the need for pro bono legal assistance.

Judge Recksiedler presented awards to local attorneys who went above and beyond in their pro bono contributions. Judge Kelly McKibben was recognized with the “Distinguished Judicial Service Award.” For her entire career, Judge McKibben has been keenly focused on the legal issues facing children. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a Child Welfare Legal Services Attorney with the Department of Children and Families. There, she played an integral role in protecting the rights of abused and neglected children. For the past 17 years, she has built an impressive judicial record in the 18th Judicial Circuit.

Most recently, Judge McKibben’s pro bono activities have included chairing the Children’s Services Council of Brevard County. The Council performed important work devoted to establishing a dedicated funding source to provide services for children in Brevard. For this work, Judge McKibben was also recognized during the evening by United Way President Rob Rains. Judge McKibben is always seeking to increase services for children in need an in the past few years has organized and implemented Florida Bar-certified legal education courses for attorneys to learn the skills necessary to represent abused and neglected children on a pro bono basis.

The ”Litigation Support Award” was presented to Jerry Miller. Over his long career, Jerry established a reputation for providing extremely responsive and reliable service. While Legal Aid generally calls upon the Sheriff’s office for service of process, we relied upon Jerry in numerous emergency situations when immediate action was necessary or when service had been effectively evaded. In instances when several attempts were unsuccessful, Jerry stepped in to save the day. In fact, over a 15-year period, Jerry performed an astonishing 5,500 serves, with a significant number devoted to legal aid clients.

“Outstanding Pro Bono Service Awards” were presented to Lia Allawas, Christopher Crowder, John Daly, Greg Donoghue, Heather Harris, Billie Jo Hopwood, Brian Onek, Amy Romaine, James Torres, and Nicholas Vidoni.
The law firm of Shuster & Saben was Platinum Sponsor for the event. Gold Sponsors were: Allender & Allender, P.A.; Brevard County Bar Foundation; Brevard County Bar Association; Faro & Crowder, P.A.; Michael and Roma Kahn, Michael Kahn, P.A.; Nance Cacciatore; and The Vicaryous Law Firm.

Silver Sponsors were: Alpizar Law; Douglas R. Beam, P.A.; Derrick Connell, Esq., Caruso & Swerbilow, P.A.; Heuston Legal, PLLC; Jacobus Fielding; The Law Office of Michael Howard; Rob and Shelley Johnson; Lacey Lyons Rezanka: and The Honorable J. Preston and Betts Silvernail.