LUMBERTON — Arlie Jacobs and Gary Price say they always look forward to Law Day, a day when members of the local bar association get out of offices and courtrooms, and take on service projects in the community.
They were among several attorneys who rolled up their sleeves Thursday and installed a wheelchair ramp at the Sigma Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority house on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Lumberton. In observance of the annual event, the Robeson County Bar Association also partnered with others, including N.C. Highway Patrol troopers, Robeson County detention officers, Lumberton police and probation/parole officers, to build ramps at four homes.
“I look forward to doing this every year, ” said Price, an assistant Robeson County district attorney. “It’s a way to give back to the community.”
This is definitely a good project,” said Jacobs, who described himself as a weekend carpenter. “It helps people, and I do it every year.”
In addition to providing the labor to build the 20-foot ramps, lawyers raised $3,000 to buy materials for the project, said retired Superior Court Judge Gary Locklear, who coordinated the event with Superior Court Judge James Gregory Bell.
Four of the sites where the ramps were built Thursday were selected by the Lumber River Council of Governments’ Council on Aging, Locklear said. The fifth site, the sorority house, was selected by the Robeson County Bar Association.
Local Law Day activities also included giving students tours of the county courthouse, and providing attorneys to speak at county schools and Boys & Girls clubs. Attorneys interacted with 1,500 students in schools and clubs last year, Locklear said.
Although the official national Law Day is May 1, for the past 10 to 12 years the 110-member Robeson County Bar Association has celebrated the event on the first Thursday of May, Locklear said. Traditionally, the attorneys have constructed wheelchair ramps as their community service project.
Law Day was first held in 1958 during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it intended to celebrate the role of law in society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.