Court gives way to good deeds

First Posted: 1/15/2009

LUMBERTON — Local United Way volunteers weren’t the only ones who showed they care on Thursday.
The county’s lawyers, judges and court-support personnel got in on the act, too.
All District and Superior court cases were postponed Thursday as attorneys spoke at various schools and took part in community projects as part of 50th annual National Law Day, which is sponsored by the American Bar Association. This is the first year members of the Robeson Bar Association has participated that event.
“I’ve heard people say that it’s a shame that we’ve gone this many years and we haven’t given back in this regard,” Superior Court Judge Gary Locklear said. “I’ve worked in Fayetteville on projects like this and I said, ‘If they can do it, surely we can.’”
Locklear said that 30 attorneys spoke at several county schools in the morning then they joined others at three work sites — two in St. Pauls and one in Lumberton. Lawyers helped build a wheelchair ramp at a house on Community Road and Myrtle Street, which are both located in St. Pauls, while Locklear and another team help repair a storm-damaged roof at a home near the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 74.
Locklear and fellow Superior Court Judge Frank Floyd ditched their black robes for blue jeans and T-shirts as they climbed up and down a ladder raised on Shirlean Cummings’ roof. A blue tarp had covered the roof since it was damaged by a fallen tree during Hurricane Floyd.
“There are good people in this world after all,” Cummings said. “It’s good to know that we have people like that. People will sometimes look at lawyers and judges and say, ‘They’re not going to help you,’ but it’s good to know that they do have a heart and will help you.”
Locklear and Floyd, who were joined by attorneys Grady Hunt and Anthony Griffin, pounded some nails and helped carry shingles up a ladder, but the real work was being done by a crew from Donnie Blackburn’s Roofing and Repair.
The local bar association raised $1,600 for the three projects and Blackburn donated his time, too.
“They approached me about it and I said, ‘Sure, why not,’” Blackburn said. “It’s for a good cause and it was good advertising.”
The roof was completed by lunch.
“Without them, we would’ve been here ’till tomorrow,” Floyd said of Blackburn and his crew. “It is steeper than it looks up there.”
Locklear summed up the day: “This shows that lawyers are real people with big hearts who are willing to give. They are giving up a day’s work, giving their money and time trying to put a good spin on the legal profession.
“We are pulling in the same direction today and trying to make a difference in the community where we live and work.’’

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