Wills for Heroes helps local first responders
By Shavonne Potts
When Clark Walton heard that two Salisbury firefighters died while battling a mill fire in March, he wanted to help.
After Walton, a Salisbury native who is now an attorney in Charlotte, spoke with Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell about what could be done, he spearheaded an event July 19 that brought 45 North Carolina attorneys to Rowan County, where they spent hours drafting around 350 estate documents, including wills and powers of attorney.
The N.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division provided the volunteers, called Wills for Heroes.
“They took it on as their service project,” Walton said.
The program was for firefighters, police officers, rescue squad and EMS personnel. It was held at the Rowan County Rescue Squad headquarters on Julian Road.
The Wills for Heroes Foundation got its start in South Carolina and provides free services to first responders.
“We received a lot of great feedback,” Walton said.
He said estate planning is not the first thing people think about.
There were local responders who attended from as far as Orange and Forsyth counties. There were a few first responders at the event who had spouses and children who were also first responders.
“We’ll try to do it quarterly around the state,” he said.
Next, volunteers are heading to Cary, Charlotte and the Triad area.
The Wills for Heroes Foundation provided support and software for the event. The program was started by Columbia, S.C., attorney Anthony Hayes, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Hayes found there was a need for estate planning services within the local fire department.
For more information about the Wills for Heroes Foundation, visit www.willsforheroes.org.