The Sir Knights of the Monsignor Chas L. Elsander Assembly, Knights of Columbus has named Julie A. Simonson as Veteran of the Year 2013-2014, recognizing exemplary military service, outstanding community service activity, and outreach to fellow veterans. Awarded annually by The Knights of Columbus, the award, presented by Neil Froman, Faithful Navigator, is the highest award honoring selfless service to our local veteran population. Julie was nominated by the Sarasota County Veteran’s Commission and was selected by the leader of the fourth order, whom organized the event.
“Julie A. Simonson has set the standard for continued selfless service from a young veteran in our community.” Said John Rogge, Commander (Ret.), United States Navy, and master of ceremonies for the evening.
“I’m honored to receive this award in recognition for well invested effort in our local veterans. But more so, I view this presentation as a promise to continue serving those men and women that have faithfully served our country.” Julie remarked in her acceptance address during a recent black tie ceremony.
The Veteran of the Year award is presented annually to the veteran (or veterans) that have distinguished themselves above all others through past military achievement and the demonstrated dedication to continue serving our community. This 31st annual award was presented in front of an audience of about 100 distinguished members of the community at Columbus Hall in a formal dinner and ceremony. The recipients received a personalized plaque with an attached sculpture to commemorate their success.
Ms. Simonson served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2004 in the Military Police Corps as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, and Detachment Commander. She graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in the top 10% of her class. While at West Point Lt. Simonson interned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, completed Airborne School, and received her Master Fitness Certification. In addition, Lt. Simonson was recipient of the Eisenhower Award for Excellence, McNally Award for Excellence in Leadership, Management, and Sociology, and the Superintendent’s Award for Excellence.
Ms. Simonson turned to law school at the University of Louisville, graduating magna cum laude. While a law student she was the President of the Student Health Law Association and provided intake for Legal Aid Services. She was also chosen as a summer law clerk for the most prolific trial law firm in Kentucky, working closely with attorneys litigating complex medical malpractice and insurance defense matters. Ms. Simonson also volunteered with the Legal Aid Foreclosure Clinic which reached out to homeowners facing foreclosure to answer questions and advise them of their rights and the foreclosure process.
Ms. Simonson and her family moved to Sarasota, Florida, where she joined the Sarasota law firm Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. in 2012. Her practice concentrates in the areas of veterans law, probate and estate administration. Drawing on her experience as an Army veteran, Ms. Simonson assists other veterans with the pursuit of compensation benefits, and pension claims.
Ms. Simonson is active in pro bono foreclosure defense. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Disabled American Veterans Post 97, where she is a lifetime member, Florida Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans U, Inc., and the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, and is active with veterans’ rights and natural health advocacy.
About Icard Merrill
The law firm of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. From its establishment more than 60 years ago, Icard Merrill has progressively grown and expanded as Southwest Florida has grown, and currently has office locations in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda as well as its headquarters in Sarasota. Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm offering business, commercial and construction litigation, personal injury, real estate, land use, family law, probate, and tax and estate planning services. For more information about Icard Merrill, call (941) 366-8100 or visit icardmerrill.com.