Inspired by his father, who served 40 years in the Alabama Army National Guard 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion including an 18-month tour in Mosul, Iraq, Jay Watkins is ready to roll up his sleeves at Veterans Recovery Resources.
“I am very fortunate to live in a great community,” said Watkins. “And it happens to be a great community where there is also a very large veteran population. Knowing there are tens of thousands of veterans out there who have difficulty accessing and receiving the help they need is deeply troubling. The more I learn about the challenges our veterans—and their families—face today, the more I’ve wanted to be a part of the solution.”
Jay recently launched his own law firm, O’Hara Watkins. He is a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow, past president of the Daphne/Spanish Fort Rotary Club and served on the National Multiple Sclerosis Alabama-Mississippi Board of Trustees for 2014-2015 and continues to serve on the Advisory Board for the Greater Mobile Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Class. He is also involved with various youth activities as a volunteer Troop leader and enjoys coaching football and basketball at Christ the King School. Watkins is a lifetime member of the National Eagle Scout Association and Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow.
So much so that Watkins called Veterans Recovery Resources and asked how he could help. “When someone like Jay volunteers to serve, it is a good day,” said Founder and Executive Director John Kilpatrick. “Jay and I talked about the commitment of Veterans Recovery Resources to helping veterans thrive over a lifetime by supporting each other. Building a coalition of public private partnerships in the local community is central to our plans and one way we will bring the best help to all veterans who need it. We are very pleased to have Jay help drive the development for what we feel is a unique approach to a nationwide problem.”
The public and private sector system of health care can be highly segmented and very confusing for veterans seeking care. It includes an array of healthcare providers, educators, non-profits, research communities, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, policy makers, federal, state, and local governing bodies, and a host of other entities. In the Gulf Coast where there is a population of veterans in rural communities, long travel times are a compounding factor.
“The Veterans Recovery Resources vision for a community-based, high-quality residential facility to serve veterans and their families just makes sense. Working in tandem with larger organizations, having a smaller, local option run by veterans offers specialized care and a built-in support group of people who really understand and have made it through. It’s another option that could really work for many,” said Watkins.
“I am very honored to be a part of this initiative. It’s one small way that I can give back to my community and to those who have selflessly served our country, like my Dad.”
Jay has over 17 years’ litigation experience. Prior to starting his own firm, he was a partner at Jones Walker in the firm’s Business & Commercial Litigation Group. Before that, Jay was a law clerk to Judge Randolph Baxter of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Mr. Watkins’ primary focus in his legal career is representing banks and creditors but over the years he has represented insurance companies, manufacturers, builders, trucking companies and restaurant owners. Watkins is an active member of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA), an organization of over 1,000 attorneys dedicated to the defense of civil actions and the promotion of fairness and integrity in the civil justice system. He regularly serves as a faculty member for the annual ADLA Trial Academy. Mr. Watkins was named a “Rising Star” in the areas of Bankruptcy/Creditors’/Debtor Rights, Business Litigation and Personal Injury Defense in the 2012 edition of Alabama Super Lawyers (listed annually since 2011) and recognized as a “2013 Top Rated Lawyer” in the area of Commercial Litigation by Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazines. Mr. Watkins has received the highest possible AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating among lawyers. He is a graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law.