More than $500,000 was raised to help provide civil legal services to low-income Texas veterans during the Champions of Justice Gala Benefiting Veterans at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin on April 28.

Proceeds from the gala, which was co-sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Texas, are distributed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation to legal aid programs across the state.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby, the court’s liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission, served as the gala’s master of ceremonies. Throughout the evening, he emphasized how important it is for Texas veterans to come home to a community of support.

Busby announced the inaugural “Macey and Harry Reasoner Access to Justice Lecture Series,” which featured retired Lt. Gen. Nadja West, 44th Army surgeon general and former commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, as the keynote speaker.

West’s lecture about tradition and military service, both in her personal life and from her time in the service, shed light on the extent to which service men and women carry their oaths of service into civilian life. By sharing success stories of veterans who received help from legal aid to remedy their civil legal issues, West transformed numbers into human faces and offered relatable scenarios illustrating the benefit of legal aid.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht presented the 2022 James B. Sales Boots on the Ground Award to Veronica Jacobs, formerly of Houston Volunteer Lawyers. The 2022 Harry M. Reasoner Justice for All Award was presented to Priya Aiyar, senior vice president and general counsel for American Airlines. The 2022 Emily C. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bruce Bower, of Texas Legal Services Center.

For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Commission, go to

This post was updated on May 11, 2022.