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Home › About › Communications › NC Lawyer › 2009 NC Lawyer Editions › September/October 2009 › Union County Lawyers Build Goodwill

Union County Lawyers Build Goodwill

Article Date: Thursday, October 01, 2009

The folks in Union County may never resolve the dispute with their South Carolina neighbors over the exact whereabouts of Andrew Jackson’s birthplace, but they know exactly where their lawyers stand when it comes to community service.

All one has to do is drive through Marshville, where 18 Habitat for Humanity houses are being constructed starting this year. From the very beginning, when some 600 citizens showed up for the “blitz build” in May, to the recent dedication ceremony for the first three houses, members of the Union County Bar Association and the 20B Judicial District Bar have been on board.

Exchanging their legal pads for caulking guns, paint brushes, rakes and garden hoes, local attorneys have helped wherever their services were needed. A total of 17 members of the local bar have pitched in along with a paralegal and sheriff’s deputy who just happen to be the friends of some of the volunteer attorneys.

“I was very proud of the effort shown,” said Matt Smith, president of the Union County/20B bars. “The lawyers here, like lawyers everywhere, care a great deal about the communities in which we live.”

It shows.

The firm where Smith works, Goodwin & Hinson of Indian Trail, has worked closely with Union County Habitat for Humanity for years.

“The firm has done all of our work pro bono, and Matt has been a part of that effort,” said Mike Reece, executive director. “The first group that came out helped with the trim work, caulking and painting. A second group came out in July and helped with the landscaping and painting sheds.”

Shortly thereafter, three grateful families assumed ownership of a new home.
“The families are so happy,” said Alice Baker, family services coordinator for Union County Habitat for Humanity. “Each child is happy to get their own bedroom. The looks on their faces, the smiles, and the parents are overcome with joy.

“Their quality of life improves so much.”

When the local bar project was first proposed, District Court Judge Hunt Gwyn was the first to volunteer.

Also representing the Union County/20B Bar were members Aimee Bennington, Will Brockington, Wes Faulk, Kerri Fredheim, Robin Goulet, Jay Harrington, Scott Hefner, Ken Helms, Erin Hucks, Penny Lazarou, James Allen Lee, Shelley Levine, Elizabeth Mullis, Tracy Regan, Tiffany Wilson and Matthew Smith, paralegal Joy Howell and Dep. Allan Nolan of the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

“While I am very proud of the effort of the volunteers from our bar, there are many others who give so much more than our short stints as helpers for a day,” Smith stated. “Individuals like Mike Reece and Alice Baker. Those are the people to be congratulated for their efforts. Those are the people who deserve our gratitude and recognition.

“I only hope that our project and support of Habitat may inspire others in our position across this state to do a little more for those we truly serve as attorneys and fellow citizens.”