LUMBERTON — Gov. Roy Cooper recently bestowed on local attorney Diane T. Surgeon the state’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of her contributions to the state.
The certificate was presented to Surgeon on March 22 during the opening ceremony of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Eastern Regional Leadership Conference in Norfolk, Va. Dr. Alice Garrett, a Long Leaf Pine recipient, surprised Surgeon by executing the honors on behalf of Cooper.
Surgeon, a North Carolina native, is a practicing attorney and business owner. Surgeon currently owns The Elder Law Center — Surgeon Law Firm.
Since 2006, she has served as a Guardian ad Litem Attorney in Lumberton, where she provides legal representation for abused, neglected and dependent children in the Juvenile Court Division/Department of Social Services.
As chief executive officer and franchise owner of ComForcare Senior Services, the home care agency she established in January 2006, she dedicates her time to the care of elderly people, infirmed children, people with disabilities, and others who are home-bound. She also started Elite Adult Day Care Center in Lumberton, which provides therapeutic community-based healthcare designed to keep elderly and disabled people in their homes.
Upon graduation from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, Surgeon began her legal career at Lumbee River Legal Services in Robeson County with a Community Lawyer Fellowship, through which she established the Southeastern Family Violence Center. After more than eight years at legal services, she became a trial attorney with the Robeson County Public Defenders Office, where she practiced for nearly 17 years.
Surgeon is a Legacy, Founders’ Society Centennial Visionary, Diamond Life Member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She joined the sorority at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 1974 and has served as a local, state, regional and national officer. She currently serves as Eastern Regional director of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, overseeing the states of North Carolina, the District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia. In October 2012, Surgeon was appointed by the Sorority’s International President Dr. Mary Breaux Wright as the National Director of Elder Care.
“My work has just begun. I am thankful and most humbled by this recognition,” Surgeon said.