In the early 1950s, World War II veterans Francis Parker and Bill Poe became partners at our law firm. Their names and commitment to public service have been part of the fabric of the firm ever since.
On Veterans Day as our country honors all of those who have served, we at Parker Poe also want to specifically thank our attorneys and staff, past and present, who were willing "to serve and sacrifice for the common good," as the Department of Veterans Affairs puts it.
Below are a few of our current veterans and their stories.
Name: Josh Faggart
Current Title at Parker Poe: Graphic Designer
Military Branch: U.S. Navy
Service Dates: December 18, 2002 - December 18, 2008
Work the veteran did: Fire Controlman/Aegis Combat System Technician
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: Seaman Recruit (E-1); Petty Officer Second Class (E-5)
A brief story from your time in the service that stands out as either funny or touching: On my first deployment, I passed the initiation rite to become a Golden Shellback, a rare title that a sailor earns by crossing the equator at the 180th meridian and completing a number of "challenges" we don't talk about with Pollywogs.
What have you taken with you from your service into your career in the legal profession? One of the biggest benefits to professional life after service is the ability to solve problems without panic and perform under pressure. The stakes are a lot lower in many civilian jobs, so having that high ceiling for stress gives you a helpful perspective.
Name: Kendall Gilbert
Current Title at Parker Poe: IT Support Specialist
Military Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Service Dates: 1999 - 2003
Work the veteran did: Military police and presidential support specialist
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: Private First Class (E-2); Corporal (E-4)
A brief story from your time in the service that stands out as either funny or touching: President Bush was flying into SFO and we were staged with Marine One ready to receive him off Air Force One and fly him to whatever engagement he was attending. This was post 9/11 and there were a lot of protesters there who gathered to voice their stance about the pending actions that would become the war in Iraq. I was in my dress blues, and I remember protesters spitting on me. Now ask any veteran why they served, and you will get a million different responses. For me though, this moment was the most patriotic I had ever felt. This was the country I had signed up and took an oath to defend. Whether it was wrong or disrespectful didn’t matter to me. To me, if we couldn’t be the country that defended the rights of people who do that, we were no better than the countries we may go to war with.
What have you taken with you from your service into your career in the legal profession? I think what I have taken and applied most is being respectful with people, but more so operationally the sense of mission accomplishment. My duty station was a no-fail mission, failure literally meant the death of the POTUS. Obviously, clients aren’t the POTUS, but our dedication to accomplishing the mission to support their needs hasn’t been much different from an operational perspective.
Name: Skip Lohmeyer
Current Title at Parker Poe: Chief Information Officer
Military Branch: U.S. Army, Missouri Army National Guard, and South Carolina Army National Guard
Service Dates: February 1988 - February 1996
Work the veteran did: Military Policeman and Ammunition Specialist
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: Private First Class; Sergeant
A brief story from your time in the service that stands out as either funny or touching: What I remember the most is serving with some of our nation’s most incredible people. The stories from those eight years are so numerous that I sometimes am overwhelmed with the amazing, impossible things a group of soldiers was able to accomplish. I’ll never forget the men and women I had the privilege of serving alongside or those friends who also served.
What have you taken with you from your service into your career in the legal profession? The skills and experiences unmistakably alter the very being of anyone who served. Service forever shapes your leadership, management, aptitude, accountability, honor, integrity, ownership, urgency, and will. Military service time often means a person was thrust into significant leadership roles at an early age; often gaining leadership experience and wisdom that can take a civilian years or a lifetime to gain. It is hard to imagine a finite list of things I took from military service when the military service shaped my entire life starting at 17. So if the question is, “what have you taken with you from your service,” then the answer to me is, unquestionably – everything.
Name: Charles Pursley
Current Title at Parker Poe: Special Counsel
Military Branch: U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps
Service Dates: September 1966 - March 1974
Work the veteran did: I assisted military personnel and their families with a variety of legal issues. In Vietnam from ‘70-‘71, I was involved in court martials as a prosecutor and military judge. I also held two positions at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania, where I served as the primary legal adviser to the post commander and senior staff.
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: Second Lieutenant; Captain
A brief story from your time in the service that stands out as either funny or touching: In Vietnam, a young man came to me charged with possession and use of heroin. I learned he had been a door gunner in a chopper and during a landing, they were attacked and his best friend was shot and died in his arms. That led to his spiraling down. I was able to obtain for him an administrative discharge and transfer back to the States to his family instead of to a court martial.
What have you taken with you from your service into your career in the legal profession? Every client you have has a story. Sometimes it doesn’t appear to be directly related to the issue at hand. But it’s my job as a lawyer to learn the story and do everything I can to best resolve my client’s case.
Name: Richard Rivera
Current Title at Parker Poe: Partner
Military Branch: U.S. Army
Service Dates: October 1, 1997 – December 1, 2002 (Active Duty)
Work the veteran did: Served as Legal Assistance Attorney and Trial Counsel (prosecutor) in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and Fort Lee, Virginia)
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: First Lieutenant; Captain
Name: Pamela Vassar
Current Title at Parker Poe: Controller
Military Branch: U.S. Air Force
Service Dates: Aug 1989 – May 1994
Work the veteran did: Military Intelligence & Financial Accounting
Rank held at the beginning of service and at the end: Airman (no stripes); Senior Airman (3 stripes)
A brief story from your time in the service that stands out as either funny or touching: I have many memories from my time in the service. Some of my longtime friends were made in those years, and we still stay in touch.
What have you taken with you from your service into your career in the legal profession? I went straight from high school into the military. It taught me responsibility, teamwork, integrity, and maturity. My military experience helped me at my current job because as a controller for a law firm you have to be all these characteristics. I credit my military years to where I am today.