A Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s ceremony took a turn for the poignant last night when the agency gave two awards that marked the sudden death of a volunteer earlier this year.
Legal Services honored a total of 12 people and organizations with “For the Common Good” awards at the event at the downtown Westin St. Louis.
The volunteer, Shannon Dodson, posthumously received a client service award. She was 34 and a co-chair of the auction for the agency’s main fundraising event, the Justice for All Ball, when she died unexpectedly during a hospital stay a few weeks before the February ball.
Dodson cajoled Maplewood business owners into donating everything from “olive oil to scooters” her first year volunteering, said Reuben Shelton, president of Legal Services.
Shannon Dodson knew that money means services, her husband, Jason Dodson, said when he accepted the award on her behalf.
“She knew that and she hustled for it,” said Dodson, who is a Legal Services managing attorney.
The St. Charles County Bar Association received a distinguished service award honoring its attorneys for taking on a stack of more than 30 of Jason Dodson’s cases after Shannon Dodson died.
Jason Dodson carried an “enormous” caseload, almost all domestic violence cases in St. Charles County, said Jim Guest, director of the agency’s Volunteer Lawyers Program. The cases couldn’t be put off, so the agency scheduled a meeting with the St. Charles bar to ask for help.
“The attorneys in that room were almost falling over trying to take cases,” Guest said.