LAWINN-L ArchivesArchiver > LAWINN > 1998-08 > 0902886085
From: "Greggory E. Davies" <>
Subject: [LAWINN-L] Winn: Military Records; James L. Womack, National DAV of 1976
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 20:41:25 -0500
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Greggory E. Davies
120 Ted Price Lane
Winnfield, LA 71483
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Military Records: James L. Womack, 1976, Winn Parish, LA.
From: June 16, 1976 Winn Parish Enterprise News-American
James Womack Chosen Disabled Vet of 1976
James L. Womack, Winnfield attorney, has been named the nation's Outstanding
Disabled Veteran for 1976. The following article about Womack appears in the
June issue of the DAV, the Disabled American Veterans magazine:
If a man can't see to read and has no hands to write, how can he succeed in a
profession that requires voluminous reading and writing?
Everyone who knew James Womack asked that question when he decided to study
law in 1950, everyone but Womack.
Five years earlier, near the end of World War II, a mine explosion had cost
Womack both of his arms, the left one near the shoulder and the right one
below the elbow. He also lost his right eye and has only faint vision in his
left. Both ear drums were punctured, causing some loss of hearing.
But Womack wouldn't listen to anyone who said he couldn't become an attorney.
And today, besides his prosperous law practice, he is involved in several
successful business enterprises as well as community and youth activity
That's why the Disabled American Veterans recently named James L. Womack, 50,
of Winnfield, La., the nations Outstanding Disabled Veteran for 1976. An
independent committee made the selection from nominations submitted by DAV
departments throughout the country.
The committee was made up of Ralph E. Hall, director, Veterans Employment
Service, Department of Labor; Joseph LeMasurier, director, Veterans Programs,
U. S. Civil Service Commission; and Dr. Daniel Ruge, a physician at the
Veterans Administration Central Office in Washington, D. C.
Womack will receive the award at the DAV National Convention in Miami, Fla.,
Commenting on the selection of the Louisiana attorney for the honor, DAV
National Commander Lyle C. Pearson said, "Mr. Womack exemplifies the
characteristics it takes to overcome severe disabilities. He's an example of
what pure determination will do. He's one of those people who just refuse to
be held down."
Born in Sikes, La., in 1925, Womack joined the U. S. Army in 1944, and was
married shortly after that. He saw a lot of combat with the 63rd Infantry
Division, including the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Saar River.
After Womack returned to action following recuperation from a minor wound that
earned him his first Purple Heart, a German mine blew up in his face on March
2, 1945. That mine took his arms and his vision and impaired his hearing.
A blow like that would stop many men, but Womack came back fighting. In a
hospital rehabilitation program, he learned to operate a lathe, and turned out
some attractive furniture, feeling the wood with his lips as he shaped each
piece. Following his discharge from an Army hospital in July 1946, he
returned to Sikes, where he raised cattle and ran a farm for a few years.
Was he discouraged when he returned to civilian life? "For a while I was
scared and I felt a little sorry for myself," Womack recalls. "But my wife,
Geraldine, gave me a lot of support, and I got over it pretty soon."
But, Womack wanted more out of his life than he was getting, and he decided to
study for a career in law. After a long search for a college that would
accept him with his handicaps, he entered Louisiana Tech in 1950. However,
his troubles with officialdom hadn't ended. Authorities at the school in the
Veterans Administration said studying law would be impossible. "Later I found
a doctor was telling these people I'd fail and probably have a nervous
breakdown because of it," Womack remembers.
"But, I'd have lost my mind faster if they had held me back. I made good
grades my first year, taking the same courses as pre-law students. So, when
the VA said they wouldn't pay for me to take pre-law, I told them I'd do it
without their help."
That's exactly what he did. After six months of holding out, the VA saw how
mistaken they were about Womack, admitted it, and returned to his aid.
He entered law school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1952.
Graduating fourth in his class in 1955, he received the Order of the Coif and
returned to Winnfield to set up a law office. Those first tastes of success
had simply fired his ambition, and he has since built a large legal practice.
"In court he relies a great deal on his sharp memory. He has a memory like
you wouldn't believe," says Mabel Evans, one of Womack's secretaries who reads
to him from his law books. "He catches things that people with sight never
notice," remarks his other secretary, Ruby Garner, who drives Womack to court
or to meetings if they are too far to walk.
Womack walks anywhere in Winnfield by himself, and gets along very well with
a hook prosthesis on his right arm only. "They left one just gets in my way,"
Womack's family is his pride. His adopted son, Michael, 24, is following in
his father's footsteps, and graduated from L.S.U. law school on May 14. His
daughter, Angela, is 9.
When Michael was a Cub Scout, Womack and his wife became interested in the
scouting program. "Geraldine was a den mother, and I was a scoutmaster,"
Womack relates. "Then I started organizing Scout Troops and Explorer Posts."
Active in scouting ever since, Womack received one of scouting's highest
honors, the Silver Beaver Award, in 1968. He has also volunteered his
services in behalf of the Salvation Army, the Heart Fund, and the Louisiana
Society for Crippled Children. One year he acted as state chairman for the
Easter Seals Campaign.
Womack is a member of the Kiwanis and several times he has served as president
of the Winn Industrial Development Corporation, which encourages industry to
locate in Winn Parish. He also serves as president of the board of Winn
Active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as patriarch for the
Shreveport, La., Stake, he lays great importance on the fact that his daughter
was born nine months and two days after he and his wife became Mormons in
1966, even though doctors had told him they'd never have children on their
In addition to his church and community activities, Womack is also involved in
several veterans organizations. He presently serves as adjutant-treasurer of
Winnfield DAV Chapter 26, which he helped organize one year ago.
|[LAWINN-L] Winn: Military Records; James L. Womack, National DAV of 1976 by "Greggory E. Davies" <>|