As the newest member of the team at Serafini, Michalowski, Derkacz & Associates (SMDA), I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself to those who frequently read this blog.
My name is Shane Childers, and I am excited to be a part of a firm with offices in both Sterling Heights and Zeeland, Michigan, that works extensively in the areas of estate planning, elder law, probate and estate administration. And as a former military member, and current member of the Air Force Ready Reserves, I am even more excited about continuing my work with our nations veterans as part of our veteran’s law practice.
My legal career began when I joined the United States Air Force JAG Corp after graduating from law school and passing the bar exam in 2008. As a member of the JAG Corp, I worked in several unique areas of the law. For instance, I served as the Chief of Military Justice at Ellsworth AFB, SD, where I served as the lead prosecutor for military courts-martial. As a prosecutor, I handled a broad array of criminal cases. I also earned a Meritorious Unit Award and an Air Force Commendation Medal for my service while at Ellsworth AFB, which included advising B-1B pilots and squadron commanders on the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Convention while working in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. However, the most rewarding accomplishments of my military career involved the assistance I was able to provide to many of our nations retired and disabled veterans. And it is with great pride that I will continue my work with our nation’s greatest heroes as a member of the team at SMDA.
Although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a great organization, it is still a part of the Federal Government and littered with red tape. My own experiences as a veteran have shown me that the VA, though designed to “care for him who shall have borne the battle, and his widow, and his orphan,” is often more focused on trying to dismantle a deserving veteran’s claim for benefits. Similarly, as a military attorney I worked with many veterans who had been wrongfully denied retroactive benefit payments, had been given a disability rating well below what they were entitled to, or had otherwise been given wrong or misleading information by the VA. As an attorney with knowledge of VA laws and regulations, I have been able to help veterans secure benefits they would never have otherwise recovered.
If you or a loved one who served in the military have been denied benefits through the VA, if you are struggling to navigate the VA’s red tape, or if you are otherwise confused about what benefits you may be entitled to, give our office a call. We can help.