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Firm Hosts 14th Annual Public Service Luncheon

Sarah Byrne receives 2015 Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award
July 2015

Moore & Van Allen PLLC honored select Firm attorneys and staff at its 14th annual Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Luncheon in June.  Conflicts Counsel Sarah Byrne received the hallmark 2015 Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award for her commitment to service in 2014.  Additionally, the Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member Award was presented to Global Services Paralegal Sally Hentz, and the Outstanding Team Project Award was given to MVA’s Devonshire Reading Program and accepted by Corporate Member Jared Poplin.

The annual Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Luncheon celebrates the many public service and pro bono hours that MVA attorneys, staff and community partners have donated over the course of the previous year.  In 2014, MVA attorneys and staff collectively donated more than 11,000 pro bono and public service hours. The Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award, which bears the name of two revered members of the Moore & Van Allen family, is presented internally to recognize one individual’s superior commitment to public service.  The Van Allen’s trail-blazing commitment to the good of the community continues to inspire Firm pro bono and public service efforts today. 

Byrne, who participates in the Firm’s Conflicts group, is largely responsible for starting the MVA Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project (HTPBP) along with Hentz.  Launched in early 2014, the HTPBP takes cases upon referral from identified community partners, to address the expunction of criminal records, protective orders, advocacy of victim-witnesses, and other civil matters.  MVA has also partnered with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina to assist with victim support, and with community organizations to raise awareness. Though Byrne’s pro bono work now centers on assisting trafficking victims, her pro bono service contributions span a variety of practice areas to support in-need clients.

Global Services Paralegal Sally Hentz received the Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member Award for her work with the HTPBP and representing victims of domestic violence. Sally has demonstrated a life-long commitment to service through her personal and professional commitments. She participates in annual mission trips across the globe on a regular basis and is currently gearing up to head to Kenya in July 2015.

The Outstanding Team Project Award was presented to MVA’s Devonshire Reading Program. The team, led by Corporate Member Jared Poplin, was recognized for providing volunteer readers to the third-grade class at Devonshire Elementary school for over a decade. In recent years the Program has expanded to include the Devonshire Backpack Program and the Box Tops and Coke Reward programs.

MVA Public Service Committee Chairman and Litigation Member Brian Heslin gave the opening remarks at the luncheon, and provided a recap of the Firm’s 2014 pro bono and public service statistics.  Charles Thomas, Executive Director of Queen City Forward, served as the keynote speaker.  The event was held at the Charlotte City Club.