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Proud of our Veterans

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Olympia sits 10 miles South of Joint Base Lewis-McChord — what that means for our community and for us as practitioners is that the struggles, and the benefits, of military service are very real. We are proud to have several practitioners that have military service and truly understand what it means to serve their country and raise a family, additionally every member of our staff has familiar ties to the military, which we take great pride and honor in.

Gravis Olympia is proud to highlight three Veterans at our Olympia office.


Catlyn Hartz, Senior Paralegal

What was your branch/occupation?

United States Airforce | Field Missile Maintenance Technician on the Minuteman 2 ICBM

How many years of service?

3 years

Where was your favorite place to be stationed?

She did basic training in Texas and then trained in Illinois. She was stationed in Great Falls, Montana at Malmstrom Air Force Base. She didn’t fully appreciate living in MT as much as she would have now. But she was only 17 at the time!

Favorite Memory from your time of service?

When she entered the AF, she was 17 years old and was working with a nuclear missile. Her crew had a very morbid sense of humor. It was the end of the cold war and the missile could be fired at anytime. They used to have to carry a key down into the missile silo so they could enter it in the failsafe and ensure the missile wouldn’t launch and blow them up. They always joked that it didn’t really do anything, just that the AF were trying to make them feel better about having to work down there with the possibility of imminent death. They also used to take brakes and lay on top of the blast doors of the missile. They would make jokes and come up with funny scenarios about what would happen to them if the missile launched while they were on top of it. For instance, would it be like pulling a table cloth off a table and they’d just fall into the silo, could they ride the missile as it launched, would they just be blown off. Again, morbid sense of humor.

Cat is also very proud of her family’s history of military service. Both of her Grandpas served in the Army Corps during World War II. Her dad served in the Army during the Vietnam era and retired from the military. Cat jokes that when she was young, she couldn’t understand what other Dads did for a living if they weren’t in the military. All she ever knew was living on a military base and it was so strange to her that people did anything else. Her sister was also in the Air Force and worked with nuclear weapons as well. In fact a funny (and again somewhat morbid) story about her sister, is that while she was serving, she was diagnosed with a mild form of thyroid cancer and had to do radiation treatment. When she was done working for the day her team would always have to be inspected for radiation, and of course she always set off all the warnings. She would joke that there was no way to knowing if it was her treatment or she was exposed to additional radiation. I think the morbid sense of humor runs in the family. Cat’s daughter also has served in the Army for six years. Cat is hoping her Granddaughter also chooses to serve when she is old enough which will mean 6 consecutive generations of service.

How did your military service positively impact your practice of law?

There are How To’s for everything in the military. Having to use technical manuals in the military gave her a foundation for understanding and following rules, procedures, and trained her to work and think in a structured manner.  This skill is reflected when she is researching case law, court rules, and following process.  She was so young when she went in to the AF, it gave her a way of being independent while also having a strong support structure. She learned self-reliance, leadership, and teamwork.


Margaret Brost, Managing Attorney

What was your branch/occupation?

United States Army | Psychology Social Worker Technician

How many years of service?

3 years

Where was your favorite place to be stationed?

She was only stationed in Nurburg, Germany

Favorite Memory from your time of service?

While serving in Germany, she was rewarded with a week long opportunity to go into Berlin. The Berlin wall was still up at the time and she was able to cross into East Berlin through Check Point Charlie. They had to take off all their military insignia so they couldn’t be identified. It was fascinating. While she was traveling on the metro through Berlin, there would be stops that had a gray X on them and a sign that said, “Temporarily Out of Service,” these were all the East Berlin stops. She recently went back and Check Point Charlie is still there and they hire actors to guard it.

How did your military service positively impact your practice of law?

Serving in the military taught Margaret a lot about power dynamics and pecking orders, which is now applicable when it comes to judicial officers and working with other attorneys. She also learned that you don’t have total control in the chain of command just like in the courtroom. She learned how to conduct herself appropriately and that she couldn’t just do whatever she pleased. She was also 17 years old when she joined the army. She carries the idea of having a Standard Operating Procedures for everything into her law practice. She likes that having things written down ensures understanding and the opportunity to move people quickly in and out of roles effectively.


Preston White, Attorney

What was your branch/occupation?

United States Marine Corps (5 years) | National Guard (16 years) | Arabic Translator

How many years of service?

Total 21 years of service

Where was your favorite place to be stationed?

Preston has a great sense of humor, he picked Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as his “favorite” place ever stationed. He laughed and said anyone who’s been there knows he’s kidding.

Favorite Memory from your time of service?

In 1999, he was able to visit the Vatican City for Christmas. It was an historic time because Pope John Paul opened the holy door of St. Peter’s Basilica. This happens only on Jubilee years (about every 15 years). The city was packed with people and it was a really cool experience.

How did your military service positively impact your practice of law?

Moving around so much and meeting all kinds of different people really opened him up to different viewpoints and cultures. He was raised in a tiny agricultural town two hours north of Salt Lake City, so his experiences were very limited. Serving in the military gave him a broader perspective of the world and aids him while working in criminal defense with a large range of people.