Alumnus honored as outstanding disabled veteran
October 20, 2014
Roger Ferland BA ’68 was recently named the 2014 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Ferland, who graduated with a degree in history from Lewis & Clark, was diverted from his plans to attend law school when he was drafted into the Vietnam War. He served in the U.S. Army as a squad leader and platoon sergeant until an explosion cost him both legs and severely injured his arm. For his service, Ferland was awarded a Bronze Star with the “V” device (for combat-related valor), the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Following extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation, Ferland graduated from Duke University Law School in 1974 and began a distinguished career in environmental law.
After practicing for more than 35 years and serving on the Military Legal Assistance Committee of the Arizona State Bar, Ferland worked with his local DAV to spearhead clinics providing pro bono legal assistance to veterans. Thanks to his continued efforts, two additional clinics are being planned.
“My immediate response was to ask, ‘Why me?’” said Ferland of his award. “Since the injury, what actions have I taken to make things better…for my family, for my community, and for other veterans? We were blessed to survive our injuries while many others did not; that precious gift of survival imposed a responsibility to do something meaningful with our lives, and that responsibility is continuing and will continue as long as we live.”
This is not the first time Ferland has been recognized for his extraordinary life, career, and service to others—in 2012, he was honored with Lewis & Clark’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.