Northeast Tennessee Child Advocate Named CASA Volunteer of the Year

All nominees honored for work on behalf of Tennessee children

NASHVILLE, Jan. 15, 2010 — Daniel Rowland of Johnson City has been named the 2010 CASA Volunteer of the Year by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

In choosing Rowland as this year's award recipient, the YLD focused on his commitment to his clients and local CASA agency, and his creative and innovative ways of serving. Rowland has served as a court appointed special advocate for just under three years but has handled an impressive number of cases. Under his watch, 64 children have been placed in safe homes where they can live and grow free from the fear of abuse.

In addition to advocating for his clients in court, Rowland authored a children's book that explains the juvenile court process and the role CASA plays, created a training program for new volunteers and filled in on two occasions for staff members on maternity leave. Rowland also impressed the YLD with his creative approach to finding new funding for his local CASA program: his own paycheck! When he is not volunteering for CASA of Northeast Tennessee, Rowland works at a local attorney's office as a Rule 31 mediator. In his employment contract, he included a provision that a portion of his fees is to be paid to CASA. Such a selfless act is just one of the many reasons Daniel Rowland is being honored this year.

In nominating this volunteer, Stephanie Sanders, executive director of CASA of Northeast Tennessee, said, "Daniel Rowland truly goes above and beyond what most would do. Just when you think he cannot top himself, he surprises us again with his generosity and willingness to serve and help others." Indeed, the YLD was impressed with Rowland's work, which portrayed initiative, enthusiasm and a unique creativity that made his nomination stand out from the rest.

Each year, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) selects a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer from nominations made by Tennessee's local CASA agencies. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and to ensure they do not get lost in the legal system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home.

Both Rowland and the agency he serves, CASA of Northeast Tennessee, will receive a cash award and will be recognized at the TBA Young Lawyers Division's mid-winter board dinner on Jan. 15 in Nashville.

Seven of Tennessee's CASA agencies nominated a volunteer for the 2010 award. Each of those individuals exhibited an impressive commitment to CASA and the children it serves. Several of this year's nominees also overcame serious personal challenges to be able to serve. While only one volunteer is selected for the award, each of those nominated deserves recognition. A certificate commemorating their nomination has been presented to the following volunteers:

  • Ray Albrecht of Murfreesboro, nominated by CASA of Rutherford County
  • Polly Bassoni of Portland, nominated by Sumner County CASA
  • Sharon Beach of Pioneer, nominated by CASA of the Tennessee Heartland
  • Pat Crumpton of Knoxville, nominated by CASA of East Tennessee
  • Margery Oyer of Lebanon, nominated by Wilson County CASA
  • Kristie Woods of Kingsport, nominated by CASA for Kids Inc.

The TBA Young Lawyers Division thanks all of the agency executive directors who took the time to nominate volunteers with their programs and ultimately, the many committed individuals who are making life better for thousands of children in Tennessee.

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The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 13,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA’s dedication to serving the state’s legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.

For More Information

Stacey Shrader Joslin
Tennessee Bar Association
(615)277-3218
221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37219

Additional Information

Learn more about the CASA Advocate of the Year Award

Download a headshot of Rowland

Download a photo of Rowland accepting his award
Pictured (from left) with CASA of Northeast Tennessee Executive Director Stephanie Sanders, staff member Tabitha Ebbert, and YLD Children's Issues Committee Chair Katrina Atchley