Attorney returns from Iraq
Wrona Law Firm attorney Jeffrey Colemere says he looks differently at the American flag since returning this spring from a nine-month deployment in Iraq.
"When I came home we went through Texas," Colemere said in a telephone interview Friday. "I was returning with a group of soldiers who filled the airplane."
People in the airport applauded for the soldiers as they left the plane.
"Every single person in that terminal stopped what they were doing and stood and clapped for us," Colemere said.
"We are a blessed nation. We are blessed in so many ways."
Since leaving the war zone, this is the first Fourth of July Colemere will spend with his family. He had a thriving practice at the Park City-based law firm before shipping out for Iraq last summer.
In the military, Colemere, 40, works as a judge advocate. He became an Army reservist nearly a decade ago.
More than 600 soldiers in Iraq received legal assistance under his watch, Colemere explained.
"We had a really large job I did anything from divorce, to creditor issues to drafting up a will or power of attorney," he said. "Fortunately, we didn’t have anything really serious. Most of it dealt with minor violations of orders that we were able to take care of pretty easily."
Much of his time was spent providing legal advice to his brigade commander.
"I also advised his staff, all the battalion commanders and all of the company commanders on military justice matters," Colemere said. "A lot of what I did was just maintaining order and discipline and making sure that those who didn’t follow the rules were taken care of."
Colemere’s six children are between the ages of 2 and 13. He didn’t expect to be deployed overseas until he received a call in 2009.
"They basically gave me about a month’s notice and told me that we were headed to Iraq," Colemere said. "That was on Mother’s Day of last year."
Most his deployment was spent at the edge of Baghdad, on a base called Camp Taji. One of his most memorable experiences in Iraq was visiting a school to deliver supplies to the students.
"They loved us. They went berserk," he said. "I saw the school that these kids were in and it was very, very plain. They have no pictures on the walls."
"I felt gratitude for what we have. They envied the freedoms that we have and perhaps take for granted," Colemere said. "I will never feel the same about seeing the flag again. I will never take it for granted."
Park City resident Joe Wrona, who owns the Wrona Law Firm, described Colemere as a workhorse attorney.
"Here is a guy in the middle of his career, just has a baby, and the Army says, ‘Hey dude, we need you,’" Wrona said. "For a lawyer to get called up like that is really scary. You have to leave your practice."
Colemere praised Wrona for keeping a chair at the firm open for him while he worked overseas.
"When I came back from Iraq, it was just a tremendous outpouring of love and support," Colemere said. "I’m just as busy now as I was when I left."
Meanwhile, another Wrona Law Firm attorney is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Paul Colton was sent to war last August, Wrona said.
"What I respect about both of them is that both of them said, ‘There is no question, we’re going,’" Wrona said. "The experience really did drive home to me that I owe a debt of gratitude to every person who served on our Armed Forces."
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