Dot and Dave Francisco and Charlie Stover

Veterans' Benefits for Our Seniors" UPDATE:

On Monday, November 9, 2015, at the Venice Senior Friendship Center, approximately 40 people attended a presentation on Veteran's Benefits by John Ferrari, Esq., sponsored by Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc. 

The audience was largely composed of senior citizen Veterans and their spouses from South County Sarasota.  Dot and Dave Francisco, of Country Club Estates, came to listen.  Dave was in active duty in the Army, stationed at Ft. Myer, Virginia, in 1955.  The Franciscos call themselves "Sunbirds" not "Snowbirds" because they like to say they "summer" in Canandaigua, New York, and spend the majority of their year enjoying Venice. 

Mr. Charlie Stover also attended.  Charlie is a 94-year-old Venice resident, and a Marine Corps Veteran who was stationed on Peleliu Island in WW II.  The Battle of Peleliu lasted more than two months.  The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines".  The 1st Marine Division suffered over 6,500 casualties during their month on Peleliu, over 1/3 of the entire Division. 


Left to Right:  Attorney John Ferrari, of Ferrari & Gonzalez, PLLC and Tom Harlow, Director of Venice Senior Friendship Center.

Gulfcoast Legal Services, John Ferrari, Esq., and the Venice Friendship Center present "Veterans' Benefits for Our Seniors"

In honor of Veterans Day, Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc., a non-profit civil legal aid organization, will host John Ferrari, Esq., of Ferrari & Gonzalez, PLLC, who wil present an overview of the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits available to our senior citizen veterans and their families.  Attorney Ferrari's presentation will take place at noon on Monday, Novembe r9, 2015 at the Kathleen K.Cagtlin Friendship Center, 2350 Scenic Drive,Venice, FL 34293.

Attorney Ferraqri, an Accredited Attorney through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, attended the US Air Force Academy, and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, the FW Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, and Stetson University College of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor with a Certificate of Concentration in Elder Law.  He is a member of the National and the Florida Academies of Elder Law Attorneys.

At the presentaiton our senior citizen veterans will receive useful informaiton about federal benefis for themselves and their dependents -- including disability compensation; veterans pensions; "aid and attendance" for veterans who are in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person, or who are permanently housebond; dependents and survivors benefits; death pension benefits; accrued benefits; and burial and memorial benefits.  All senior citizen veterans are warmly welcomed to attend.

Veterans Day originated as "Armistice Day" on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I, and became a national holiday in 1938.  Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans -- living or dead -- but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

The Veterans Administration was established in 1930 when Congress authorized President Herbert Hoover to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans."  The Department of Veterans Affairs was established as a cabinet-level position by President Bush on March 15, 1989.  The VA Motto is:  "With malice toward none, charity for all, with firmness in the right as God give us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."  Abraham Lincoln -- Second Inaugural Address -- March 4, 1865.  With the words, "To care for him who shall have born the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,"  President Lincoln affirmed the government's obligation to care for our veterans and to provide for the families of those who have honorably served our country.  Come learn about VA benefits on November 9th!

Gulfcoast Legal Services serves the legal needs of vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in Southwest Florida.  The main office is in St. Petersburg and our Sarasota office is located at the Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center.  In order to meet the needsof South County seniors who may not be able to drive up to Sarasota, Robin Stover, the managing attorney of that office, schedules appointments to meet with seniors at the Venice Friendship Center one day each month.  There is no cost for this service.  Please contact Gulfcoast at 941-366-1746 if your are a Sarasota County senior in need of legal assistance.
Monday, November 9, 2015, Venice Friendship Center, 2350 Scenic Drive, Venice

Clearwater Bar Legal Fair
Saturday, November 14, 2015
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
     Attorneys will be onsite and conducting consultations in over 20 areas of practice:  including criminal law, immigration, landlord tenant, wills & trusts and more.  Special guests include:  Florida State Senator Jack Latvala, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, and other local officials.  Community partners such as the Supervisor of Elections, the sheriff's Office, 211 Tampa Bay, Pinellas Urban League, and Attorneys from Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc. will also be present.


GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES had a lovely Open House and Ribbon Cutting!  On January 30th we showed off our new offices.  The party started at 3:00 pm and ended just a little after 6:00 pm.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 4:00 pm in the lobby of the new offices. Food and drinks were available and over 60 guests toured the facility. Judge Day, Mayor Kriseman and County Commissioner Gerard were honored speakers and ambassadors of the Chamber of Commerce helped to make sure the party was a grand success.  Thank you to all who attended, we appreciate your good wishes and open support.  Visit to see a slideshow video production of the afternoon.


HURRY!  Register now for April Charney's Foreclosure Defense Training!

GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES is sponsoring this training for licensed lawyers on January 23, 2015 at 9 am to 4:30 pm.

A day-long workshop with April Charney is being sponsored by Gulfcoast Legal Services. The workshop will be at the Pinellas Realtor Organization (PRO), 4590 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater, Florida 33762. Seven and one-half CLE credits (one in ethics) will be available. Attendees should bring laptops and/or tablets. WiFi will be available and a box lunch is included. Cost is $180 (not refundable) for the day. Attorneys must also commit to a 20 hour pro-bono obligation at a local legal aid agency/service provider.

To register contact Libby Von Kaenel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (727)821-0726 X245. Seating is limited to 112 participants, so resister early to reserve your seat!


Family Law Clinics Are Scheduled Every Month!

Manatee Clinic is the second Wednesday of each month

Pinellas Clinic is the fourth Wednesday of each month

Clients who are victims of domestic violence and are low income may attend the clinic to seek assistance in filing the initial forms needed for a divorce.  All attendees must be pre-screened and attend by invitation only.  For further information about the clinics, please call 727-821-0726 (Pinellas) or 941-755-6805/941-747-8477 (Manatee).

Gulfcoast Legal Services Provides Free Legal Advice to Seniors!

Free legal advice and representation in civil legal problems is available for Pinellas residents who are age 60 or older.  Call 727-821-0726 to make an appointment.  Services are available at the clearwater's Aging Well Center (in the Long Center, at 1501 N. Belcher Road, Clearwater 33765).  Gulfcoast staff are at the Long Center every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month for the convenience of the residents.  Stop by and make an appointment!