Letters to the Editor

Thank you Mark Hansen

I just got word of the passing of Mark Hansen, former Oak Harbor resident, attorney and founder of the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Island County (VLP). It got me to thinking about Mark and how many people’s lives have been impacted from his achievement, and the fact that probably none of these people who have been helped would even recognise his name.

The story goes like this.

In 2002 Mark legally created the VLP which was set up to help people with their non-criminal legal problems, people who could not afford an attorney. Mark did have help from other local attorneys who volunteered their help, but I am sure that they would all agree that it was Mark’s commitment and drive that made the VLP come into being. I was hired as the program director to make the VLP “go.” On my first day I was shown to my office which was a former broom closet in the Opportunity Council premises, it had an old metal desk and file cabinet which had been found somewhere, and a phone. Mark then gave me the office key and left me to do the job — he then got in his car and drove to Bend, Oregon to begin his new life.

Did he abandon the VLP? He did not.

Every month Mark would drive the 12-hour journey to Oak Harbor to check that everything was working, taking a couple of client cases and giving me more assignments than one person could possibly do. His enthusiasm, his pride in the VLP and his support of me made the wheels slowly turn and the VLP came into being of what it is today. Mark was never paid for his time, in fact he donated money to the VLP, nor was he even paid mileage for the journey. Mark was an attorney who did care and he quietly served his community for the cause of equal justice!

In 2006 when I left the VLP there were well over 1,000 local people who had been served by the program. So, thank you Mark, you did good!

Rita Worley

Keighley, Yorkshire England

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