Stephen F. “Steve” Rossman has concluded three years as Easter Seals chair, during which the organization dramatically expanded services for military veterans and their families and launched critical partnerships in brain research.
Rossman, who lives in Coral Gables, is cofounding partner of the Miami trial law firm Rossman Baumberger Reboso Spier & Connolly. He assumed his new title as immediate past chairman at
Easter Seals’ national meeting in Chicago in late October and will continue his long service on Easter Seals Board of Directors. Easter Seals, as one of the world’s largest organizations serving people dealing with disabilities, has touched more than 1.7 million lives through its 550 affiliates.
Rossman said that among his proudest accomplishments was Easter Seals’ partnership with the Staff Sergeant Donnie D. Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services (Dixon Center) in Washington, DC. The Dixon Center ensures access to services essential for military service members, veterans, their families and the families of the fallen to succeed in family and community life and civilian society. In the past two years, Easter Seals has raised $25 million to support returning service members.
The center is named for Donnie Dixon of Carol City, a tank commander who was killed by small arms fire in Iraq on Sept. 29, 2007, at age 37, one month shy of ending his second deployment and his scheduled return to his wife and four children, and three years before he planned to retire. The center is run by Sgt. Dixon’s former commanding officer, retired Col. Donald Sutherland. The center’s efforts have won strong endorsements from retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“This work with veterans and their families is vital and will continue for generations,” Rossman said. “Since 2000, more than 250,000 veterans have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Nearly 50,000 men and women have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 2,300 have committed suicide. More than 67,000 veterans are homeless any given night.
“The list goes on, and there are millions more American veterans who served in Vietnam, Korea and World War II among us. We may, over time, forget these wars, but not these men and women coming back.”
Easter Seals recently launched a Brain Health Center to create solutions and expand awareness of how emerging technologies can enhance the lives of people living with brain conditions. Its partners and technology incubators in fostering brain health include the Brain Plasticity Institute, Posit Science and Vista Life Sciences.
Rossman has served Easter Seals at both the affiliate and national levels for decades. At the national level, he has represented Easter Seals South Florida as a member of Easter Seals National House of Delegates, 1997-2007, and served on the Membership and Organizational Structure (MOS) Committee. Elected to Easter Seals International Board of Directors in October 2004 and re-elected in 2007, he has served as board first vice chair, secretary, chair of the Affiliate Services Committee, vice chair of the Public Affairs Committee and a member of the Executive and Finance committees. He was elected board chair in 2010.
Rossman first became involved with Easter Seals in 1984 as the parent of a child at the Easter Seals Demonstration School in Miami when he served as co-chair of Easter Seals South Florida’s capital campaign. He joined the affiliate’s board in 1987, held the offices of vice chair and chair, and has served on numerous committees over the years. An enthusiastic supporter and staunch advocate of Easter Seals, its clients and services, Rossman often has opened up his home to host Easter Seals events and fundraisers, and recruit new members to the affiliate board and the Presidents’ Council.
Throughout Rossman’s career as a trial lawyer, he has served as president of the Florida Justice Association, president of the Miami-Dade Justice Association, a member of the board of governors of the American Association for Justice, and a legal advocate of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
To support children and adults with disabilities visit www.easterseals.com