Our May Pro Bono Spotlight shines brightly on
Haynes & Boone associate Matt Costello
and the veterans he serves. Matt is a dedicated PLC volunteer and recently
achieved a life-changing victory for Army veteran Kenneth Knight, who sought help petitioning the Army for an upgrade to his discharge status.
As a first-year associate, Matt began working with Mr. Knight to secure a discharge upgrade we knew would be the key to survival for the veteran experiencing mental illness and homelessness.
After five years of working with Mr. Knight, Matt secured a 5-0 unanimous decision from the Army Discharge Review Board to upgrade Mr. Knight's discharge status to "honorable."
Between June 2009 and May 2010,
Mr. Knight served as a mortarman in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province
He earned numerous medals and commendations for his courageous and honorable service, including the
Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge
Mr. Knight’s existing mental health issues were exacerbated by the conditions he experienced while deployed
and he was discharged with a characterization of other than honorable conditions after returning to Fort Carson, Colorado.
Matt’s journey with Mr. Knight included many set-backs, but through perseverance and the support of Haynes & Boone, they made progress on the case. At one point,
Matt asked and received permission from Haynes & Boone to appear before the Army Discharge Review Board in Washington, D.C. to first-chair a hearing before a five-officer military tribunal
. All his efforts have now paid off with Mr. Knight’s discharge upgrade granted. In Mr. Knight’s own words, he can now
“lead a productive and meaningful life becoming of a soldier in the United States Army and one that would make my former Fort Carson commanders proud.”
Mr. Knight will now have access to many veteran benefits including much-needed VA medical assistance that was previously unavailable to him.
We salute all our returning heroes and the
pro bono heroes like Matt Costello
who help veterans and their families. Want to be like Matt? Here’s a short video on Discharge Upgrades featuring Mr. Costello himself.