2015 Citizen Lawyers: Donald D. Sayers
By Phillip A. Harris Jr.
SALISBURY – The North Carolina Bar Association has recognized Salisbury attorney Donald D. Sayers with its Citizen Lawyer Award. The award honors attorneys who provide exemplary public service to their communities.
Sayers wholeheartedly believes that “everyone who has the ability, education, and talent has an obligation to give back to the community in which they live.” Although this maxim is not limited to lawyers, Sayers believes that attorneys’ legal skills “are particularly suited to help as leaders in the nonprofit setting.”
Over his 46 years of practicing law, Sayers has a long, distinguished career of community service. Not only has he served as co-chairman of both the United Negro College Fund Campaign and the Rowan County Heart Fund Campaign, but he has also served on the board of directors for numerous local organizations, including the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Salisbury Historic Preservation Commission, and the Waterworks Visual Arts Center, to name but a few.
As the president of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, Sayers and his colleagues bought the historic Salisbury Depot and helped to raise over $3,000,000 for its restoration. The Salisbury Depot is now a local landmark that is used for office space as well as town and community meetings. Even though he has provided a tremendous service to the community, he “received much more in satisfaction than he expended in time and effort.”
Most significantly, he has devoted over 30 years of service as a member of the board of directors of the Margaret C. Woodson Foundation, a foundation focused on funding worthy organizations involving child care, animal care, colleges, and the arts. He described the gifting process as “one of his joys,” and during his tenure, he and his colleagues oversee more than $20,000,000 in charitable gifts to the communities of Rowan and Davie Counties.
“As the longest serving member of the Foundation, Mr. Sayers brings a wealth of stability, value, and prior knowledge that is invaluable in making grant determinations,” said Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson, a fellow member of the Foundation Board.
Sayers lives the life of a Citizen Lawyer, and has more than lived up to his calling as a worthy ambassador for his community. Sayers continues to assist his clients and his community as Of Counsel at Woodson, Sayers, Lawther, Short, Parrot and Abramson, LLP in Salisbury, where he focuses on banking law, education law, and real estate.
The Citizen Lawyer Committee of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the NCBA Citizen Lawyer Committee, provides expanded coverage of the 2015 Citizen Lawyer Awards in recognition of their volunteer service and leadership in their communities and beyond.
Phillip A. Harris Jr. is an attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in Raleigh.