Love of Community, Love of Country: A Life Spent Serving

By Eric Edelman

Col. Kip Lassner’s tireless devotion to serving others is his life’s greatest passion.

A long-time partner of Cole, Scott & Kissane, one of the largest legal firms in the state of Florida, Kip Lassner comfortably pulls off a business suit and tie. But Lassner is just as comfortable in a different sort of dress attire: the military kind. For over 32 years, Colonel Lassner has worn the dark-green officer’s uniform of the United States Army National Guard, and for the past seven years, the United States Army Reserve. In addition to his degrees from the University of Florida in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, Lassner recently graduated from the illustrious U.S. Army War College in 2016 with a Master’s in Military Strategic Studies. Given his civilian legal expertise, it’s only fitting that Lassner has held a number of high-level legal positions throughout his military career. Lassner has served as the Vice Judge Advocate General for the Florida Air Defense Artillery Brigade as well as a recent assignment in Alaska with NORAD, the distinguished North American Aerospace Defense Command. Lassner will be taking command of a legal operations detachment based in Oklahoma City this upcoming summer.

Most service members who ascend through the officer’s ranks directly commission into the military or come from a legacy of intergenerational military service. But Lassner, upon being asked if he directly commissioned as an officer, allows a wry laugh. “I started as a private,” Lassner concedes, chuckling. “I enlisted in January 1987…Ronald Reagan inspired me to serve my country,” he recalls. As a military policeman, Lassner would go on to deploy and support the U.S. military operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. After dropping out of law school to deploy to Saudi Arabia, he would return stateside to finish law school, take the Florida Bar Exam, and soon after, directly commission as an officer in the National Guard. Thirty-two years after his first day in the military, his commitment to military service is still as stolid as it’s ever been. “I would say that the most important aspect of my life is my service to my nation,” Lassner affirms. “There’s no greater service that I can give than what I did for the country.” Despite Lassner’s primary focus of service to the nation he loves, he hasn’t neglected his local community either.  

Lassner has served the past six years as a member of the YMCA’s Advisory Board in Weston, where he helped spearhead the YMCA’s Veteran’s Day event to support and give back to service members in the community. In addition to his local efforts, Lassner created the Specialist Matthew Brian Prestridge Scholarship, dedicated in Prestridge’s honor following his death upon returning home from a deployment in 2010. Lassner helped create the posthumously dedicated scholarship to support prior service members attending South Florida State College. Lassner has also supported the efforts of Feeding South Florida, the state’s largest food bank, where he and his firm most recently hit the 100,000-meal mark for meals donated. Whether it’s as a military officer or a member of his firm, Lassner continues to serve with pride. “I believe that success is measured in the difference you make in other peoples’ lives,” Lassner declares. “It sounds hokey but I get to serve our country and serve my community. If I can help, either by feeding the hungry, or helping people come together, I’m going to do it.”

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