WILMINGTON, Delaware (October 23, 2014) – Richards, Layton & Finger attorneys Mark Purpura, Melanie George Smith and Robert Burns were awarded the Delaware Distinguished Service Medal for their pro bono services to assist the Delaware National Guard. Major General Francis Vavala, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard, presented the award at a ceremony at the firm’s offices on October 22. The Delaware Distinguished Service Medal, which is usually reserved for military personnel, was awarded to Mr. Purpura, Ms. Smith and Mr. Burns in recognition of their countless hours of valuable pro bono service and “their demonstration through action of a core value in the military of ‘Service before Self.’”
Mr. Purpura, Ms. Smith and Mr. Burns have spent years working with General Vavala and the Delaware National Guard, providing legal counsel to establish the Delaware National Guard and Reserve Foundation and the subsequent combination of that foundation with the Delaware National Guard and Reserve Emergency Fund. This fund provides financial assistance to military service members and their families who are facing economic hardships.
“We have the greatest respect and admiration for the women and men of the Delaware National Guard and for their service to our state and country,” said Robert Krapf, president of Richards, Layton & Finger. “We’re proud of the pro bono work our attorneys have donated to them and to others in our community, and we will continue to support and encourage these important efforts.”