Hull’s Drive-In hosts free screening of Black Hawk Down

The W&L Veterans’ Advocates organization collects donations for Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Advertisement for special screening. Photo courtesy of Hull’s Drive-In.

Advertisement for special screening. Photo courtesy of Hull’s Drive-In.

Alexandra Cline

Veterans and their families were honored in a fundraiser at Hull’s Drive-In just days before the annual holiday that celebrates their service and sacrifice.

The Washington and Lee Veterans’ Advocates organization and the Student Bar Association partnered with the movie venue for a screening of Black Hawk Down on Nov. 2.

While admission was free, the WLVA organization collected donations for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The charity provides financial assistance for the surviving children of special operations service members killed in the line of duty.

The entirety of the event’s proceeds–several hundred dollars–will be donated to the charity.

WLVA founder Nicholas Ramos, ’18L, helped coordinate the military movie night to spread awareness for veterans in the community and to raise money for the charity.

“The event created an opportunity for the Lexington community to come together for a great cause–supporting the families of deceased Special Operations warriors,” he said.

As a U.S. army officer with multiple combat deployments, Ramos created the organization in part to encourage discussion of veterans’ issues.

He believed events such as the military movie night would be a positive step toward bringing together the veterans and non-veterans at W&L and in the local area.

“It is important that veterans’ stories get told through film and national conversation,” Ramos said. “This storytelling helps close the widening gap between our civilian and military populations.”

To promote further inclusion, the WLVA organization is open to anyone interested in national security, defense policy and the armed forces – not just veterans and active duty military.

Though WLVA is currently an organization at the law school, Ramos said he was also interested in including W&L and Virginia Military Institute undergraduates.

Ramos said veterans provide relevant knowledge and talents to these educational communities, creating diversity and new perspectives in the classroom.

“Veterans bring massive amounts of experience and skill to the classroom that can only serve to further W&L’s educational objectives and enrich the experiences of other students,” he said.

In starting conversation about military members and their inclusion in the community, WLVA plans to host speakers in the future who will discuss veteran pro bono work in legal practices.

“Guest speakers will likely be attorneys who lead the veteran-related pro bono practices for their respective law firms and/or representatives from the Department of Veterans Services,” Ramos said.

Last month WLVA sponsored a talk by Arnold Haiman, deputy general counsel for the United States Agency for International Development. Haiman spoke at W&L Law about legal ethics, the government as a client and understanding the difference between illegal and ill- advised activity.

Though Ramos said veterans at W&L Law already have great opportunities to share their perspectives, he also wanted to see additional veteran leadership in the classroom.

With the school’s smaller class sizes, Ramos said further interaction between veterans and the student body would facilitate important discussion about their different life experiences.

“Veterans have the opportunity to utilize [their] strengths in ways that benefit themselves and their colleagues,” he said. “W&L Law provides a special environment in which veterans can accentuate their strengths. This environment leads to veterans doing very well in school and in their job searches.”