Jack Olender, president of the malpractice law firm Jack H. Olender and Associates, speaks on Thursday, Dec. 8 at the 31st annual Olender Foundation Awards, which honor law professionals, law students and teachers, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Northwest.
Jack Olender, president of the malpractice law firm Jack H. Olender and Associates, speaks on Thursday, Dec. 8 at the 31st annual Olender Foundation Awards, which honor law professionals, law students and teachers, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Northwest. (Travis Riddick)

The “King of Malpractice” once again honored public figures and ordinary citizens who make a difference in their communities.

The 31st annual Olender Foundation Awards, the brainchild of lawyer, philanthropist and community leader Jack Olender, took place Thursday, Dec. 8, honoring law professionals, law students and teachers at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Northwest.

“This is about giving thanks,” said emcee Paul Berry. “We started having this event back in 1987 with Larry King, and it has been wonderful every year.”

Howard University Law students Chavez Adams, Lauren Jackson, Lakeisha Mays, Jennifer Moore, Tasherra Newbill and Logan Patmon received the Earl H. Davis scholarship, as did Perfecta Baffer, Erika Cummins, Jessica Christy, Jessica Galvan, Thomas F. Matthews and Michael Wilk from the University of District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law.

Annamaria Steward, associate dean of students at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law, presented the students with the award, but first she thanked Olender for his help.

“Jack Olender gave a big contribution to put our DC Bar fund over our goal, and we are thankful for his generosity,” she said.

Olender thanked all of the current and past awardees in the audience. In his unique style, he thanked everyone individually, even the deceased.

“I want to acknowledge the passing of Mickey Thompson, a wonderful photographer who always covered our events, or sent photographers to do it,” Olender said. “Her husband is here today and we want to thank him.”

Olender and his late wife Lovell started the Olender Foundation to counter poverty and violence and to promote opportunity and equal justice. For years the foundation has supported a wide array of local and national organizations that serve the public.

Kenneth F. Holbert, Esq., received the Advocate for Justice Award, while Aaron “Cliff” Webster and Greg Twombley both received the Children’s Advocate Award.

“I’ve been here many, many times at this awards with Mr. Olender, and I’d never thought I would be the one getting one,” Twombley said. “I’m thankful and honored for my dad who told me I could be anything and showed me by example.

“I’am also so very thankful for the students and parents I’ve worked with over the past 35 years,” he said.

Twombley, a retired senior leader from the U.S. Army Band, also known as “Pershing’s Own,” has distinguished himself as an award-winning music educator. For years he took student musicians from inner city schools under his wing, which led to Twombley Music Mentoring Program, where he spreads his gifts in District schools and the surrounding area.

His students give him glowing praise: “Mr. Twombley showed me I was special,” said one. Another: “Greg helped me believe I could succeed.”

“I’ve worked with children from all different backgrounds, and I’ve learned that all they need to know is that someone cares about them and they will be successful,” Twombley said.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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