Irmo-Chapin Life Magazine - January 22'

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Features 17 An Exercise Program You Can Live With 22 Online Habits That Put Your Identity at Risk 26 Homeless No More 32 Give Blood. Save a Life.

Happy New Year! Welcome 2022 to the present, as the year 2022 is no longer the future, it is now. Recently, we moved our Lexington & Irmo Chapin sales office to a new location. We had been at the past location for six years and it was time for a change. During the moving process, I was amazed at the amount of stuff that had stockpiled through the years. Basically, it was just stuff taking up space. Thankfully the trash dumpster was located right by the front door, since I got rid of over half the stuff we had accumulated. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, moving was a big pain in the rear end. The move was close to six months in the making and now we are settled in our new downtown Lexington location at Victoria Square, by McDonald’s. The change in office space has been extremely refreshing for the entire team. Actually, the difference has been so profound that I decided for the year 2022, “less is more.” I’m going to try and implement that mantra in both my personal and business life. Less food, less stuff, less clutter, less noise, less stress, less bitterness, are just some of the things I plan on focusing on. What plans do you have for 2022? Hopefully your plans will materialize and 2022 will be the best year ever! I encourage you to take some risks in 2022. Italian author Rafeal Sabatini said it well, “Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit.” And actor John Barrymore said, “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” So, here’s a toast to us, having a wonderful 2022 with no regrets and our dreams coming true. Happy New Year and thanks for reading! Todd Shevchik

Columns 11 Faith Matters 39 David Clark


9 10 13 36


From the Publisher Calendar of Events Irmo Chapin Leader Spice of Life




DIRECTOR OF SALES Donna Shevchik 803-518-8853

EDITOR Kristi Antley

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tracy Tuten 803-603-8187



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jackie Perrone, Marcy Roberts, Marilyn Thomas, Kim Becknell Williams STAFF PHOTO BY Clark Berry Photography

CONTACT US: 114 HAYGOOD AVE., LEXINGTON, SC 29072 • 803.356.6500 •




JANUARY Saturday, January 15th and Sunday, January 16th Gun and Knife Show Jamil Shrine Temple, 206 Jamil Rd., Columbia, Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Come out to look, learn, and experience your favorite guns and knives first hand at this annual festival. Adult admission- $10, Military admission- $8, children 12 and under are free with an adult. For more information visit Saturday, January 15th Beethoven & Blue Jeans Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St., Columbia, 7:30 p.m. This is a concert you won’t want to miss! The audience and musicians are encouraged to wear their favorite pair of blue jeans for a comfortable experience with world-class music. The concert opens with a contemporary piece by Carlos Simon. Guest artist Rachel Lee Priday is the featured soloist for

Barber’s Violin Concerto followed by Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Virtual and individual tickets available at Sunday, January 23rd World of Musicals THE HIT BROADWAY REVUE RETURNS Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College Street, Irmo, 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. The World of Musicals brings the very best of musical theatre to life and will return to the HT@MTC stage after wowing the audience in 2018. This musical revue is a stunning journey through the great world of your favorite musicals – with beautiful and emotional ballads from Evita to Les Misérables, along with great upbeat favorites from Rock of Ages to Mamma Mia – the World of Musicals is a performance for the entire family. Get ready to sing along to all your favorite and beloved musicals! Tickets: $40, Student/Senior/Military: $35; for details visit

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A Fresh Start

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New Year Special:

…As you start 2022, what do you need to forget? What do you need to leave behind so that you can have a fresh start? Many of us carry painful memories from this past year. There are memories of loved ones who succumbed to yet another variant of COVID-19 and the pain their departure brought to our weary hearts. There are indelible images etched into our minds of the horrible destruction caused by the tornado outbreak that occurred last month across several states, images that can never be erased. Yes, there are certain things we just can’t forget, and we shouldn’t. Yet, there are some things that we need to forget so that we can move on with our lives, so that we can have a fresh start. God tells us in Isaiah 43:18: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!..” You do not have to be defined by past mistakes, tragedies, or injustices. You can have a fresh start. You can rise above the past. …2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Embrace the fact that “the old has gone, the new has come” by inviting Jesus into your heart and life. Tell him that you know you have made mistakes and that you need Him to live in your heart. That prayer will make you “a new creation”. It will give you more than a fresh start. It will give you a new beginning. That new beginning is waiting for you in the embrace of Jesus. Start living “in Christ” today, and you can move forward in the “new thing” that God wants to do with you? Yes, you can have your fresh start. n


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Paul Sadler Home-grown is always best, whether it’s tomatoes, camellias, corn or local citizens who stay put and make things better. Paul Sadler, newly-installed President and CEO of the Chapin Chamber of Commerce, stands as a notable example of a hometown boy who has chosen to build his life and his community right where he grew up. He wouldn’t be anywhere else. “I have lived in the Midlands of South Carolina almost my entire life,” he reports. “I graduated from Dutch Fork High School in 2000 and went on to Midlands Tech after that.” His business career has been built around YMCA facilities in the neighborhood: Columbia, Lexington, and Ballentine. In those capacities, Sadler enjoyed membership in Chambers of Commerce, meeting the business leaders who keep the community humming, and supporting his neighbors in improving schools, streets, and public facilities. Today he is leading the Chapin Chamber and reveling in the opportunities and challenges which may lie ahead. Here’s how he sees the future: “My focus and goals for the Chapin Chamber is to help our business community make connections, build relationships, and help with their personal and professional growth. I like to say we Engage, Influence, Impact, and then we repeat. It’s a cycle that must continue in order to see our community be successful. I want to see all of our businesses thrive in Chapin. “Today, the Chapin community is strong. Our small town is always looking for ways to strengthen the economy and to provide a better quality of life. The Town of Chapin is being smart with their growth strategies and is always seeking community input. The strategies they have put in place and continue to put in place will foster smart growth for our town while maintaining the small hometown feel that Chapin is known for.” “The one glaring surprise that I’ve witnessed over the last 11 months in Chapin is the overall friendliness of this community. It’s a town where everyone truly does know your name and where everyone knows everybody. It’s been great to submerge my life into this community and I look forward to it for many years to come.” Paul’s wife Amanda teaches at Sandhills Primary in Swansea. They have two children, Addison (13) and Ethan (12), who attend Chapin schools. A Labradoodle, Charlotte, and a Morkie, Wilson, complete the family roster. n









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Create an Exercise That You Can




by Kim Becknell Williams Starting an exercise program is a step in the right direction toward good health and wellness. The New Year is a typical time for people to make health and fitness resolutions, intentions, or goals – but honestly, any time is a good time. So how do you get started? Plans and Trackers Before beginning an exercise program, make sure to get your family physician’s approval. Once you’re cleared to go, write down a plan. Writing it down sets the intention. Use it as a reference to see how you’ve stayed on track. Do a Google search to print out workout plans and calendars to make it easier. Numerous fill-in-the-blank logs and books are also available, or use a notebook as an exercise journal. Write which days of the week you plan to exercise. Three to five is a good average, allowing a couple of days of rest, as muscles need rest to recover. Figure out how much time you can allot to exercise. Start small and build up as you go along. On busy days, consider small amounts of time in spurts. Just 15 minutes of exercise five times a day makes a difference. You can do a little before work perhaps, a walk during lunch, and a light workout at the end of the day. It doesn’t have to be a big block of time all at once. If you’re a morning person, set the alarm a little earlier to ensure you get your workout in. If you work out at night, block off the time to ensure nothing gets in the way. Realize your plan might get altered. That’s okay. Revise if necessary. Just keep moving. Trackers are popular to keep up with workouts, steps, and heart rates. Watches, fitness apps on smartphones, and pedometers are convenient ways to do this. Explore options to see if this suits you or keep with your handwritten plan.

blisters, injuries, and foot strain. Shoes are oftentimes categorized as cross-trainers, running, exercise-specific (Zumba, tennis, trail, etc.). Minimalist shoes, which are close to barefoot, are trending right now. Whatever you decide on, you’ll need to try them on to ensure the right fit. Walk around in them to make sure they are comfortable. Make sure you have good exercise socks, too. Many brands are designed specifically for exercise. Some designate left and right to conform to the shape of the foot. Most come up high on the heel to prevent blistering. Like your exercise shoes, wear clothing that is comfortable and lets you move freely. If you’re thinking of buying exercise clothes, wicking fabric keeps moisture away from the skin and dries quickly. Off-brand stores carry a lot of high-quality, name-brand clothing at discount prices. Make sure you feel good in what you choose to wear. You’ve got the plan, the clothing, and the shoes. Now what? Walking and Biking Walking is ideal for beginners and doesn’t require any equipment. You can walk around the neighborhood, in a mall, or at a park. Having a treadmill or access to one makes it possible for an indoor walk. Treadmills have adjustments for speed and in

Footwear and Clothing You don’t need to make a big financial investment, but having quality workout shoes is key. Proper footwear can help prevent




cline, so you can customize your walk depending on your personal needs and strengths. Some have built-in TVs for watching programmed shows or for viewing virtual routes. Walking outdoors has a lot of benefits, including fresh air and convenience, but weather can interfere. Fortunately, in the South, we have a moderate climate all year. Be prepared for changes in the weather. Have rain gear for rainy days, jackets for cooler days, and light clothing for hot, steamy days. Walk for distance or for a set amount of time. Increase as you feel ready. Many people aim for 10,000 steps a day, which calculates to about five miles depending on stride. If you have a bike and like to ride it, you’ve already got a builtin cardio routine. Find a safe place to ride and enjoy the great outdoors. Wear a helmet for safety. If you have a stationary bike, you can ride anytime regardless of the weather. If you’re looking to purchase one, there are several types to consider, e.g., dual bikes move arms and legs simultaneously or separately, recumbent bikes allow the rider to sit back in a semireclined position, upright bikes have the rider seated more upright. Features might include TVs, adjustable resistance options, and pedals for bike shoes to snap in or straps to secure footing. Look for adjustable seats, water bottle holders, and adjustable handlebars. You can convert your outdoor bike to indoor by purchasing a bike stand, which raises the bike up off the ground to allow you to bike indoors. Strength and Stability Incorporate strength training into your plan to complement your cardio and to gain strength. Certified personal trainers have the expertise to show clients how to use equipment properly. If that’s not an option, YouTube videos and instruction booklets that come with some of the equipment can be of assistance. There is a long list of various types of exercise equipment for home gyms/ workout rooms. Some of my favorites include: • Half-domed ball (BOSU® is one brand) used for balance work and strength training. • Kettle bell, which is similar to a dumbbell but with a handle for swinging motions. • Jump ropes for serious cardio and very little expense. Good quality is important, however. • Dumbbells come in various weights and are ideal for strength training. • Mats for stretching and floor work. • Bands with handles for resistance training and stretching. • Stability ball (also called balance ball, physio ball, and Swiss ball) used for lots of variations in exercises. Sports consignment stores offer reduced prices on exercise equipment. Since the equipment is used, check for wear and tear before purchasing. Online stores like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are other options as well as sporting goods stores and large department stores. Yard sales are another option for finding used exercise equipment at a fraction of the cost.

Bodyweight Exercises Bodyweight exercises build strength and don’t require any equipment. You’re simply using your own body to do the work. Be sure you’ve been cleared by your doc to do these and that you use proper form. Like learning to use exercise equipment, hiring a trainer is the safest way to learn how to use bodyweight for exercise. Exercises to consider include: • Squats • Lunges • Wall-sits • Planks • V-sits • Pushups • Crunches

Group Classes Consider taking an exercise class. Many gyms/studios allow participants to take a class without purchasing a membership or long-term agreement. Arrive on time or a little early to get situated. Most instructors don’t allow late arrivals for safety reasons. Bring any necessary items (usually these are listed on websites or handouts). In a yoga

Balance Balance is important at all ages but especially as we get older. Having a good sense of balance helps with posture, prevents injuries or stumbling, and gives an overall good feeling. Ways to work on balance include standing on one foot while you do everyday activities like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or folding clothes. Be sure to have a wall close by to catch yourself if neces-


class, you’ll probably need your own mat. Bring a towel to water aerobics and a bathing cap if required. Let the instructor know you’re new, so he or she can help with any questions and alert you to anything you should know ahead of time. Classes to consider: • Yoga (avoid power or hot if you’re a beginner) • Pilates • Zumba • Water aerobics • Spin (biking with music and sometimes with strength training included)

sary. If balancing is difficult, focus your eyes on one stable object. Overall balance is likely to improve by exercising more and stabilizing your core area. The core is basically the abdominals, back, and glutes. A strong core is optimal for good balance. Stay Motivated Maintaining an exercise program has ups and downs. Some days you’ll feel like exercising longer and harder than usual. Other days you might not want to lace up the shoes at all. How do you stay motivated? • Set small and big goals to recognize your achievements. • Notice subtle changes like increased energy, muscle definition, and better sleep patterns. • Use the buddy system. Exercise with a friend who will hold you accountable. • Give yourself healthy rewards. An example would be buying a new pair of exercise socks or a new refillable water bottle after walking X number of miles in a week. • Shake up your exercise routine with variation to prevent boredom. Do something different. This will keep your brain and body engaged. • Try a new exercise class to feel inspired via exercising with others. • Make a list of what you’ve accomplished. Look back at your original plan to see how far you’ve come. • Remember why you started and where you want the exercise plan to take you. • Use sticky notes or reminders to help you stay on track. • Find a motivating mantra and repeat it to yourself when you need it most. n About the Writer Kim Becknell Williams has been a writer for more than 25 years and a certified personal trainer for 10. She is an NFPT-CPT and a functional training specialist with a Master Trainer level certificate for resistance, endurance, and sport nutrition. She writes fitness blogs, human interest stories, and has published two books: Gym Etiquette 101 and Puzzle Pieces.




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The online world is truly a wondrous expanse, offering everything from research journals to the latest in cheap celebrity gossip to making shopping and education streamlined and convenient. If you spend time online, you already know about the amazing benefits and information it has to offer for both personal and business purposes; however, such a wondrous expanse also comes with hidden dangers.

Common Online Habits That Put Your Identity at Risk by Marcy Roberts

The risk of online damage affects all ages – just a few include cyberbullying, invasion of privacy, identify theft and financial scams, phishing emails, and malware downloads as well as accidentally viewing offensive material and messages. This article will shed light on how you can best take advantage of online opportunities without compromising your identity. 1. Sharing Too Much on Social Media Social media is all about sharing, but some things should be off-limits. A simple rule of thumb is that, if a part of your password is included as a personal password recovery question, you should never share that information online, whether with

your social media friends or elsewhere on the web. Those off-limits nuggets of information can include things like the name of your high school or college, your address, hometown, the names of your kids and pets, and anything else that has already found its way into a password. If you must share those details, be sure to change your passwords to exclude them. 2. Using the Same Password Everywhere If you are using proper password hygiene, removing personal details that have already been shared on social media will probably take some time. Unfortunately, many people end up using the same


password over and over again, setting up the same credentials for everything from their bank and brokerage accounts to the long-forgotten website where they bought that winter coat. Using the same password in multiple places is one of the most common habits that put online identity at risk. It may be more work, and it will surely take more effort, but setting up a separate password at each online site you use is the right thing to do from a security standpoint. You can make the process of creating and remembering multiple passwords easier with a password manager program, but it is important to check the reviews and understand how the credentials will be

stored and who has access to them. Not all password managers are the same, and it is important to pick one with a solid reputation and a dedication to security and privacy protection. 3. Storing Your Credit Card Information at Online Retailers From Amazon and Etsy to the thousands of smaller sites scattered all over the web, online retailers want to make it easy for customers to buy their products. As a result, many online retailers offer the option of storing credit card numbers and other payment methods, which may be convenient, but it can also be risky – and make it easier to overspend. Even if it means each transaction takes longer, keeping your credit card account secure is well worth the extra effort. 4. Responding to Unsolicited Emails, Phone Calls, and Text Messages Another common habit that can put your identity at risk is responding to unsolicited emails, phone calls, and text messages. Scammers are getting better at crafting messages that look authentic, complete with fancy graphics and convincing fake websites. You can never be too careful, so never respond to emails, phone calls, or text messages that come to you unsolicited. Even if you think the communi-

cation is authentic, contact the sender direct to find out what is going on and what kinds of information are required. It only takes a few extra minutes to look up the actual phone number or support email address for your bank or other financial institution, and it will be worth it for the peace of mind you get. 5. Not Having Robust Virus and Malware Protection in Place The final online habit that can put your financial life and your identity at risk is failing to have the right kind of protection in place. At a minimum, you should have robust antivirus software and malware protection on every device you use, including your smartphone, which is actually a tiny computer masquerading as a telephonic instrument. It may also be worthwhile to pay for additional protection against ransomware attacks, a growing risk for not only businesses but individuals as well. You can never have too much protection, so check what is in place and upgrade those firewalls if necessary. When you go online, you gain access to an entire universe of information and resources that are just a click away. At the same time, you open yourself up to an equally large range of threats –from viruses and malware to identity theft and ransomware attacks – that could hold your files, photographs, and savings hostage. If you want to enjoy the good side of the internet while ramping down your risk, breaking the five unhealthy online habits listed above is a good place to start. n





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Homeless No More: A Continuum of Care for Families in Need

By Marilyn Thomas


amilies who are homeless are a particularly vulnerable population, but Homeless No More, a local organization in Columbia, is partnering with the community to solve this serious issue. Backed by data and proven best practices, this nonprofit offers its participants a “continuum of care,” which includes emergency services, life skills training, and transitional accommodations with the ultimate goal of helping its residents to achieve self-sufficiency in permanent, affordable housing. The basic definition of homelessness, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is an “individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” HUD data from 2020 indicates that approximately 4,287 South Carolinians had experienced homelessness on any given day; of that total, 279 were family households. Furthermore, in the 2017–2018 school year, the U.S. Department of Education approximated that about 12,426 South Carolina public school students had experienced homelessness during that time frame. “Formerly known as Trinity Housing 26 | IRMO CHAPIN LIFE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

Corporation, Homeless No More (HNM) was created in 1989, in response to the rising number of homeless families in the Midlands of central South Carolina,” says Lindsey Pitts, the administrative coordinator of HNM. “The organization built its reputation for serving homeless families through its transitional housing program, St. Lawrence Place.” In 2005, Lila Anna Sauls joined the staff as a part-time employee of St. Lawrence Place in response to a friend’s request for help. “I set foot on that campus, and I will never forget,” recalls Ms. Sauls. “It was around Easter, and they were unloading bicycles that someone had donated. I watched the kids and their reactions to the bicycles, and I thought, I’m never leaving this place.” With an extensive background in the nonprofit sector, Ms. Sauls accepted the role of chief executive officer of HNM two years later. “We became what you call a ‘best practice’ at St. Lawrence Place,” she says. “We were working with families; we had done a million-dollar rehab of the property, and we were presenting at conferences nationally.” Although St. Lawrence Place was proven successful in its mission, in 2016, Ms. Sauls and the organization’s board of directors realized that “something was missing” and envisioned a more comprehensive approach. In response to this, a study was commissioned with the University of South Carolina to identify effective methods for addressing homelessness.

The “data-driven” findings from that research indicated that families needed programs related to the underlying contributors of homelessness as well as more affordable, permanent housing options once stabilization is achieved, to achieve and sustain positive outcomes. As a next step, the board recommend-

the Family Shelter to provide emergency housing for up to 30 days for as many as 17 families at a time. They also initiated Live Oak Place, an approach that directs families to affordable housing options. To that end, HNM secured a number of residences throughout the region within existing neighborhoods; they also constructed a brand-new, 15-unit apartment community known as Myrtle Grove. Those who move into the Live Oak Place homes have completed the programs of Family Shelter and St. Lawrence Place and are able to work and live independently there with their families. After the intake process, which is usually initiated by phone, new participants receive food and housing, are assigned to case managers, and receive life-skills training. “We’ve never just been about the roof,” explains Ms. Sauls. “We’re very much about those wrap-around services.” These sessions cover “soft skills” such as budgeting, communicating effectively, résumé writing, managing stress, obtaining health care, etc. “During lifeskill classes, we also provide childcare,” she adds, “so there’s never a reason for a family to not be able to participate in a program fully.” According to Ms. Sauls, if a resident has a specific need that can-

I love it when they come back, and they have jobs, and they have these incredible lives – that’s our goal!” ed finding a model program to emulate. “I spent time researching and making phone calls and identified HomeFront [in Lawrenceville, New Jersey] as what we need to be,” says Ms. Sauls. “We cross-trained, my board members visited and asked tough budget questions, and Homeless No More was born.” This innovative program was “a continuum for homeless families,’” she explains. “What that means is it’s step-by-step, depending on where you are in your journey of homelessness, and we have a program that will walk with you.” In addition to the existing St. Lawrence Place program, which accommodates 26 families, they then acquired

not be addressed directly with HNM’s inhouse resources, they will outsource that case to an appropriate service provider. For example, they may contact Sistercare about domestic violence situations or Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc., for its assistance. Moreover, HNM is unique in that “We’re the only shelter system that takes fathers or boys over 12,” explains Ms. Sauls. “The guiding rule is that there has to be one child in custody, and a child is defined as 18 and under, but our mission, our goal, is to keep that entire family together.” Because she has five boys of her own who have grown up on the campus of HNM, “Everything I do,




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when I come into work, I want to protect the most vulnerable,” says Ms. Sauls. “I want to teach their parents how to be able to do it once they are away from us. The whole thought behind any of our programs is that we give the parents what they need to be independent. I love it when they come back, and they have jobs, and they have these incredible lives – that’s our goal!” “Carrie” and her young daughter “Ashlyn” have been residents of St. Lawrence Place. [These are not their real names, but Carrie’s story is used with her permission.] Before entering the program, finding affordable childcare, while in a job with limited hours, had become a challenge for Carrie, which affected their ability to live independently. “When I first got here, I felt scared, desperate, and alone. It was like I couldn’t do enough to support Ashlyn or myself,” Carrie recalls. “I didn’t think I could find a place like St. Lawrence Place that could help me do the things I needed to make things better for my daughter.” At HNM, Carrie was assigned to a staff case manager and a job coach, Sommers Sims, who assisted her in developing stronger occupational skills and helped her enroll in a childcare program designed to give parents the flexibility to work more hours. “When we get new clients, we connect the resources with the person who needs them,” Ms. Sims says. Carrie’s experience at HNM has been described as “transformational.” In addition to spending quality time with her daughter, her self-confidence has grown, and she is able to work more and has been seeking other job opportunities with better hours and wages.

Another key component of HMN’s success is its Community Bridge program, which involves the coordination of local organizations who voluntarily meet in a group called The RoundTable. Together, they endeavor to discuss and successfully resolve issues that may negatively affect the homeless population. Past concerns they have addressed include barriers to obtaining childcare and using the public transportation system in Columbia. The local community can assist HMN in other ways, and Ms. Sauls summarizes this as “time, talent, and treasure.” For time and talent, volunteer groups, individuals, and businesses are welcome to help with property maintenance. Also, educators and other professionals can tutor the children or teach life-skill classes. As for treasure, monetary donations are always helpful. Additionally, the HMN website posts specific needs that the shelter uses every day as well as seasonably (e.g., snacks, school supplies, comforters, towels, toiletries, dishes, etc.). This nonprofit also hosts special activities in which the public is encouraged to participate. The Hope for Homes fundraiser in November sells luminaries with which supporters can light up their front yards to bring awareness to the organization and homelessness. Other events include a Race for the Place 5K in February, an Angel’s Tea luncheon and silent auction in the spring, and an annual Rent Party in September. To find out more information about volunteering or upcoming events or to seek assistance with housing, the HNM staff can be reached by calling 803.602.6379 or by visiting their website at n

“We have lots of incredible stories,” says Ms. Sauls. “But all the decisions we make are based on that data because it’s all based on our success. We track everything, we have a database, and everything we do is quantitative.” For example, notable statistics from HNM’s 2021 fiscal year include: n Four hundred and thirty-nine homeless and at-risk individuals were served. n Ninety-five percent of families who participated in the St. Lawrence Place transitional housing program moved into permanent housing after completing the program. n One hundred and thirty-one children and youth were served through the afterschool, day camp, and other programs offered at St. Lawrence Place. n Ninety-eight percent of HMN’s school children were promoted to the next grade level and 90% maintained or increased their reading levels.





Life Renewed Renewed.




Give Blood

SAVE A LIFE By Marilyn Thomas



edical professionals agree that safe blood is a universal need; unfortunately, most hospitals only have a few days’ supply on hand at any given time. Despite the amazing technological and medical advances of the 21st century, this essential elixir cannot be manufactured or replicated. There is a constant demand for blood due to emergency and routine medical procedures to save, prolong, or enhance the quality of life. Add to this demand a world pandemic, and suddenly we have a national blood supply shortage. Contrary to popular belief, the processes, procedures, and opportunities for donating blood could not be simpler, safer, or more accessible at this time. Even though COVID-19 has made public gatherings a bit more difficult for churches and schools, there are several independent donation centers and medical facilities within the Midlands with precautions in place to protect both donors and staff. This includes prescreening, routine testing, constant sterilization of equipment, having barriers in place, and physical distancing. “Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood,” says Benjamin Williamson, the regional communications director for the Red Cross of South Carolina. Because it cannot be manufactured in a lab or stockpiled indefinitely, “The only source of blood products is volunteer blood donors. All blood types – particularly type O blood, the most-needed blood group by hospitals – and platelets are needed,” adds Mr. Williamson. “In the Midlands area, we must collect nearly 24,000 units of blood each year to meet the hospital demand, [and] we service about 30 hospitals across the state.” The Blood Connection (TBC), a nonprofit organization located throughout the Southeast, operates a donation center

at 5141 Sunset Boulevard in Lexington County. “We service 24 counties and more than 50 hospitals across the Palmetto State, including Lexington Medical Center,” says Katie Smithson, the partnership and media coordinator for TBC. “Blood donated with The Blood Connection stays local, so when you donate with TBC, you are helping your neighbors, friends, and family.” “Blood products can be used to treat everything from trauma incidents to chronic diseases, depending on the type of blood product used,” explains Ms. Smithson. “Blood can be separated into three components: whole blood, platelets, plasma. Whole blood is mainly used for trauma and surgery; platelets are used for surgeries and transplants and to help cancer patients get through chemotherapy; and plasma can be used for burn patients and those with bleeding disorders. Convalescent plasma is another type of plasma that is collected from people who have recovered from an illness and can be given to those currently suffering from it. One donation can save up to three lives,” adds Ms. Smithson. “If every person in the United States donated two times per year, there would never be a shortage of blood products.” Because of issues related to the ongoing pandemic, the collection of blood donations has been greatly reduced. “This year,” says Ms. Smithson, “The Blood Connection has seen historically low donor turnout, leading to a critical need for blood donors. TBC needs to collect 800 units a day to adequately supply all our hospital partners, but, so far, that daily goal has only been reached on four days.” Similarly, Mr. Williamson says that “the supply of types O positive and O negative blood has dropped to less than a half-day supply at times over the last month. That’s well below the ideal five-day supply.” To donate blood, participants must be in good health, be at least 17 years of age (or 16 with parental consent), and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. “You can visit for a full list of eligibility requirements,” adds Mr. Williamson. Most donation centers accept walk-ins, but online registration may also be available to expedite the process. “The American Red Cross tries to make the process as easy as possible,” says Mr. Williamson. When volunteers arrive at a donation site, they will be asked to provide a photo ID, contact information, and a health history. They will also undergo a “mini physical” to ensure that they are “healthy enough to donate blood,” explains Ms. Smithson. This typically involves taking blood pressure, temperature, and a blood sample to check for anemia. “After you begin to donate is the part where you can sit back and give back,” says Ms. Smithson, “catch up on the news, read a book, or even learn more about blood donation.” When donating, it is important to eat a healthy meal beforehand and drink a lot of water before and after. “A good night’s rest prior to your donation is also key,” advises Mr. Williamson. During or following the procedure, donors may become slightly dizzy or nauseated, but to counteract this, “We encourage individuals to take their time and eat a snack before

Working at Lexington Medical Center, I know how valuable blood products are to our patients and community.

leaving the donation site,” he adds (snacks and fluids are usually provided onsite). The Red Cross and TBC have fixed locations where donors can give seven days a week. “We also host blood drives across Lexington throughout the week using our mobile units,” says Ms. Smithson. “In 2020, blood donations through The Blood Connection impacted more than 293,000 people.” “The American Red Cross is also always looking for new partners to help us host blood drives,” says Mr. Williamson.

“If every person in the United States donated two times per year, there would never be a shortage of blood products.”




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“There are usually over a dozen blood drives held in the Lexington area every month, whether those drives are at schools, churches, businesses, community centers, etc. To find a drive near you, visiting is the best option.” Savannah Tapler, a senior planning analysist with Lexington Medical Center, began coordinating with the American Red Cross in organizing blood drives for the hospital system’s community outreach department in 2014. “It has been a

“Don’t wait, people across the country depend on the generosity of blood donors.” privilege to partner with the American Red Cross of South Carolina and support their mission, which has become my personal passion,” says Ms. Tapler. “Working at Lexington Medical Center, I know how valuable blood products are to our patients and community.” Because Lexington Medical Center’s mission is “to provide quality health services that meet the needs of our community, blood product is an extremely critical component to meeting the health care needs of our patients and the communities we serve,” she explains. “Supporting the collection of all types of blood donations allows us to do what we do best.” As a blood program leader, Ms. Tapler works with the Red Cross’s donor recruitment account managers to plan, publicize, and coordinate blood drives. For her dedication to the cause, she was recently presented with the notable Red Cross Blood Drop Award, along with a certificate of recognition from the governor of South Carolina. “Reaching 100 blood drives is a remarkable milestone,” she says, “but, more importantly, over 18,000 lives were impacted by the generosity of Lexington Medical Center employees. I am humbled and honored to be recognized by the Red Cross and First Lady Peggy McMaster and look forward to a continued partnership, especially during this critical time of need.” “As a numbers person,” says Ms. Tapler, “I’m always interested in setting records. To date, my highest unit collection for a single blood drive is 165 units. I got close in September at 157 units. ” This past year, Lexington Medical Center hosted 17 blood drives within its network; for 2022, the hospital has already agreed to host 18 blood drives – “the most pre-scheduled blood drives we have ever had,” adds Ms. Tapler. “Becoming a blood program leader has been a wonderful experience,” she says. “It has given me the ability to develop my management skills while having fun and engaging with amazing community members, employees, and Red Cross staff members. I have truly met some wonderful people on this journey who have all a shared passion for making a difference in this world. I would highly encourage organizations and churches to look into hosting a blood drive.” Wendi Knight, administrative director for Laboratory Services at Lexington Medical Center, explains the importance of giving blood, “Here at Lexington Medical Center, we

transfused over 16,000 blood products last year, and those products helped save more than 7,000 patients. Blood transfusions have become the most frequent procedure that occurs in hospitals nation-wide and often saves patients from life-threatening emergencies. Recently, like all hospitals nationwide, we’ve been experiencing a severe blood supply shortage and strongly encourage everybody to consider donating – for your loved ones and for our patients.” Another meaningful way to contribute to the supply of blood products is to visit a local, certified plasma donation center. Three of these companies operate within the greater Columbia area: Immunotek Bio Center, Octapharma Plasma, and CSL Plasma. Their intake practices and requirements are similar to those for donating whole blood, but they use an intravenous procedure called “plasmapheresis” to separate plasma from red blood cells and other cellular components, which are returned to the donor. Participants are also compensated monetarily for their time and permitted to donate twice weekly. “Don’t wait,” urges Mr. Williamson of the South Carolina Red Cross. “People across the country depend on the generosity of blood donors. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, or calling 1-800RED CROSS. We are very grateful for our volunteer blood donors,” says Mr. Williamson. “Many of our donors donate blood because they have been personally touched by blood donations [and] find the feeling from donating and knowing the help it is providing to be very rewarding.” n

Blood or Plasma Donation Opportunities • Blood Drive location search: • The Blood Connection: 5141 Sunset Blvd., Lexington • Columbia Red Cross Blood and Platelet Donation Center: 2751 Bull Street, Columbia • CSL Plasma: 215 Assembly Street, Columbia • Immunotek Bio Center: 2601 Broad River Road, Columbia • Octapharma Plasma: 1618 Charleston Hwy, West Columbia • Lexington Medical Center opportunities to donate:








CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP 2 tbsp. butter 1 c. finely chopped onion 4 cloves garlic, minced 4 c. chicken broth 1 (2 lb.) butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces 2 tsp. curry powder 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/2 c. half-and-half 2 tbsp. honey 1/4 c. sour cream, or to taste (Optional) Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot butter until softened and browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir chicken broth, squash, curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper into onion mixture. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir half-and-half and honey into squash mixture. Pour squash mixture into a blender no more than half full. Cover and hold lid down; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream. ITALIAN SAUSAGE TORTELLINI SOUP 1 (3.5 oz.) link sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 c. chopped onions 2 cloves garlic, minced 5 c. beef stock 1/3 c. water 1/2 c. red wine 4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped 1 c. chopped carrots 1/2 tsp. dried basil 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 1 c. tomato sauce 1 zucchini, chopped 8 oz. cheese tortellini 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese for topping Place the sausage in a large pot over medium high heat and saute for 10 minutes, or until well browned. Drain the fat except for about 1 tablespoon, add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 more minutes. Next add the beef stock, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any fat that may surface. Add the zucchini, tortellini, green bell pepper and parsley to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until tortellini is fully cooked. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with the cheese. CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP 2 c. chopped fresh mushrooms 1 small onion, chopped 2 c. chicken broth 3 tbsp. butter, melted


3 tbsp. all-purpose flour 1 1/2 c. milk 1/2 c. heavy cream 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste 4 slices white bread, toasted 1 tbsp. softened butter 1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese In a large saucepan, combine the mushrooms, onion and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15 minutes over low heat. Stir together the melted butter and flour to make a paste. Stir the paste into the pan with the vegetables. Increase the heat to medium, and gradually stir in the milk. Continue stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens and begins to boil, stir in the cream. Cook over low heat without boiling for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, and trim pieces of toast to fit the bowls. Butter the toast, and place on top of the soup. Sprinkle the cheese over the bread and serve. WILD RICE AND CHICKEN SOUP 3 (10.5 oz.) cans chicken broth 2 c. water 1/2 c. wild rice 1/2 c. chopped green onions 1/2 c. chopped carrots

1/2 c. butter 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 2 c. heavy cream 2 c. cubed, cooked chicken meat 1 (4 oz.) jar sliced pimento peppers, drained Combine the broth, water, and rice in a large soup pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until rice is tender. Saute onions in butter or margarine in a medium saucepan, over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick. Stir in cream. Cook for 6 minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring constantly. Stir into broth. Add cubed chicken and pimientos. Heat completely and serve! n


Denial is First I first saw her when I was a kid. I fell in love with her on the spot, even though I had no idea at the time what love meant. As a little boy I was awed by her flowing robe as she walked confidently. A blowing wind caused the Stars and Stripes to wave behind her. I wondered at the oak and laurel branches she carried in her left hand, and marvelled at how her outstretched right hand seemed to call forth a brightly shining sun. She gazed intently at something beyond the sunlight. Following behind her was a statement of trust in God. Her image shined. The image had a weight to it unlike any other. I have never gotten over this first innocent memory. I feel its strength plainly in my old man’s heart. A little later I saw her in a flowing French robe. Now the sun was upon her head, and she held a torch high for all to see. It wasn’t long before I saw her stepping on snakes and monsters, or leading men as she carried the Stars and Stripes. She was always strong, and this was in an era that supposedly viewed women as weak. I played fast and loose as a young man with my respect for her, though one could say I fully exploited her principles in a fast and loose sort of way. As I grew into what’s called “middle age,” I began noticing different men abusing my first love. I was disgusted by this abuse, but did not know how to counteract it. When acts of abuse and neglect aren’t stopped cold, they tend to grow and get worse. Human nature seems to always

translate to nobody wanting to get involved and thinking “someone else will deal with it.” This inaction is fertile ground for expanding abuse and neglect. Once a woman is seen publicly with a black eye, it’s not surprising to see her with another one. Next thing you know, her robe’s fabric begins to fray. We shrug our shoulders: “Well, that’s to be expected from a woman who has black eyes a lot.” We turn our face and look away from the black eye and the torn robe. We have our own lives and wives and daughters to take care of. We decide the woman with the torn robe and black eye is somebody else’s problem. We revert to childlike thinking and believe if we don’t see it, then her problems really don’t exist. We’ve been told denial is the first stage of grief. This truth reminds me of holding Daddy’s cold, clammy hand in the funeral home. I believed Daddy would open his eyes if I just cried hard enough. Lady Liberty was the first love for many. We’re hearing she’s been violated and pushed into a ditch somewhere. An awful lot of people are concerned at the rumors. But it appears an awful lot of us are in the first stage of grief.


David Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at




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