Varnum attorney helps deliver COVID-19 test kits to Michigan's U.P.


Varnum LLP partner Christopher Ballard, (left), took part May 12 in a mission to deliver and retrieve COVID-19 testing kits from remote areas of the Upper Peninsula, along with fellow Civil Air Patrol members William Vandermolen and Christian Felton.

Varnum estate planning partner Chris Ballard, a major in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), last month assisted Michigan State Police with delivery and retrieval of COVID-19 testing kits in remote areas of the western Upper Peninsula and eastern edges of Wisconsin.

His fellow CAP crewmembers included a real estate professional and a financial analyst. The all-volunteer trio are members of the Michigan Wing Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, that provides the Federal and State governments as needed disaster relief assistance.

Ballard’s team made four flights in a Cessna 206, from Lansing to the UP and back. Ballard piloted a plane and served as air operations branch director, coordinating other pilots and their flights. The mission totaled about 10 hours of flying, plus time spent loading and unloading the plane and picking things up and handing them off to the State Police. A total of 31 flights were made by multiple teams across Michigan.

Ballard has been flying as an amateur pilot for about 20 years and has volunteered with Michigan Wing Civil Air Patrol for five years. He serves as squadron commander for the Ann Arbor squadron, which has about 65 members.

“Civil Air Patrol gives me the chance to use those skills to give back to my community,” said Ballard.

In addition to this COVID-19 relief mission, Ballard piloted a recent aerial reconnaissance flight to aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in obtaining photos of flood damage in Midland after the May 20 collapse of two dams.

A partner in Varnum’s Ann Arbor office, Ballard earned both his BA and J.D. from the University of Michigan. He focuses his practice on estate planning, trust administration, nonprofit organizations, taxation and business planning. He counsels clients on wealth management matters, including estate and inheritance tax issues and probate administration. As part of his tax practice, he counsels clients on fiduciary,
international and partnership tax matters.

He also is the principal author of “Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice,” published by Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations in connection with the Mott Foundation.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a member of the  State Bar of Michigan, Washtenaw County Bar Association, and Washtenaw Estate Planning Council. He also has taught as an adjunct professor at WMU-Cooley Law School.


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