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Shaw AFB through the ages Palmetto Health Tuomey: A century in the making Historic homes of Sumter Downtown thriving 2016: SPONSORED BY THE GREATER SUMTER CHAMBER OF C O M M E R C E A N D T H E S U M T E R E C O N O M I C D E V E L O LIFEISGO P M E ONDI NSUMTE T BO AM R| 1D R .C O

As we partner with clients, each step builds As we with clients, step builds on thepartner Thompson familyeach of companies’ on the Thompson family of companies’ commitment to quality, safety, performance commitment to quality, safety, performance and value added services. Whether we’re and value added services. Whether we’re constructing a steel mill in Louisiana, constructing a steel millin Tennessee, in Louisiana, cleaning a nuclear facility or cleaning aannuclear in Tennessee, or building arena facility in Charleston’s historic building an arena in Charleston’s historic district, we approach each project with district, we each project with integrity andapproach professionalism. We have integrity and professionalism. We have built a solid reputation through years by built a solid reputation through yearswith by delivering quality services, on time, delivering quality competitive, on time, with competitive pricing.

“We will never forget our roots in Sumter, SC” “We will never forget our roots in Sumter, SC” - Greg A. Thompson, CEO/President - Greg A. Thompson, CEO/President


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Since 1986, Thompson has grown from a modest industrial service business into one of South Carolina’s largest construction and service related companies. We’ve climbed a lot of rungs in those 29 years. Today, we serve the entire southeastern and central United States with more than 2,000 employees and four companies, covering nearly every facet of the construction and industrial service sectors. While we will never forget our roots in Sumter, South Carolina, the next two pages illustrate just how far we’ve come. We gauge our success by how well we respond to our clients, for we know their success is the true measure of ours. 100 North Main Street, Sumter, SC 29150 LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M | ImagesAnnualAdvertisement_2013.indd 1


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Residential • Rental Land and Commerical Real Estate 1081 Alice Drive Sumter, SC 29150







table of contents

WHY SUMTER?……………………………………………………………………………………… 6

For as long as I can remember, many people have referred to Sumter as a place in the middle of everything. By that they could mean in the middle of the state, midway between the mountains and the coast or even halfway between New York City and Miami. That may all be true, but Sumter is a great community that has a whole lot more going on than just being in the middle of a lot of things. Just like the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce says in its mission statement, Sumter is “a family oriented community that excels in the world market.” For starters, our income is on the rise. Sumter’s per capita income is up by a third over eight years ago, and Sumter County has outpaced the state by 10 percent during that time frame. Manufacturing jobs have increased in Sumter County for the past five years in a row. Shaw Air Force base continues to be the pride of our community as airmen and soldiers serve and protect our great country. Our downtown continues to thrive and grow with new restaurants and new businesses opening monthly as well as established businesses around town relocating near Main Street. Additionally, a new hotel is close to breaking ground, and there is no end in sight for what else could be next. Inside our annual Life is Good magazine you will find great stories about people, places and businesses that make the Sumter community great. From Shaw Air Force base’s 75th anniversary to folks that have moved and stayed here to industry that’s on the cutting edge of technology, you will find a mix of stories that highlight our great city and county and show why we live up to the motto of “Uncommon Patriotism.” On behalf of The Sumter Item, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and the Sumter Economic Development Board, we bring you the 2016 Life is Good magazine.

Jack Osteen Publisher

RACE SERIES encourages year-round commintment……………………………………………………… 10 SUMTER OFFERS numerous recreational opportunities………………………………………………………… 12 SUMTER ARTS………………………………………………………………………………………… 14 EVENTS CALENDAR………………………………………………………………………………… 16 APEX TOOL GROUP thankful for 40 years of growing in Sumter………………………………………………… 18 CONTINENTAL EXPANSION UNDERWAY……………………………………………………22 LOCAL INDUSTRIAL PLANT EMPLOYEES illustrate ‘family’ spirit………………………………………………………………………………24 PALMETTO HEALTH TUOMEY a century in the making……………………………………………………………………………26 CENTRAL CAROLINA continues to expand…………………………………………………………………………………30 USC SUMTER cost-effective higher education…………………………………………………………………32 RECLAIMING HISTORY with LaDawn Collins…………………………………………………………………………………34 HISTORIC HOMES OF SUMTER…………………………………………………………………38 SCHOOL LISTING…………………………………………………………………………………… 41 SMALL TOWN FOOD BIG TASTE…………………………………………………………………42 SUMTER AT A GLANCE……………………………………………………………………………45 REVITALIZATION OF DOWNTOWN SUMTER…………………………………………………46 ELECTED OFFICIALS…………………………………………………………………………………48 MILITARY FLIGHT SCHOOL chooses Sumter………………………………………………………………………………………50 NEW SPORTS PROGRAMS at USC Sumter…………………………………………………………………………………………54 WILDLIFE GO-TO SPOT……………………………………………………………………………58 SUMTER: THE GAMECOCK CITY…………………………………………………………………60 SHAW THROUGH THE AGES………………………………………………………………………62 SHAW AIR FORCE BASE finding my sweet Southern Belle………………………………………………………………64

Shaw AFB through the ages Palmetto Health Tuomey: A century in the making Historic homes of Sumter Downtown thriving CHAMBER OF THE GREATER SUMTER 2016: SPONSORED BY O A R| 1D P M E N T BTER.COM E V E L O LIFEISGOODINSUM SUMTER ECONOMIC D COMMERCE AND THE

ON THE COVER Pierson Kelly looks back at Ellis and Riley Coker as they pop a squat on the front porch of Retired Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael “Buzz” Moseley’s and wife Jenny’s home at the corner of Church and Calhoun Street. Photo by Keith Gedamke

staff PUBLISHER Jack Osteen

EDITOR Rick Carpenter EDITORIAL Ken Bell Ivy Moore Sammy Way Adrienne Sarvis

Jim Hilley Leigh Newman Susan D. Osteen PHOTOGRAPHY Keith Gedamke

20 N. Magnolia Street Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-1238

LAYOUT & DESIGN Cary J. Howard AD DESIGN Katie Welch AD SALES Paige Macloskie

32 E. Calhoun Street Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 775-1231




Why Sumter?

w BY KEN BELL There are a plethora of reasons families and individuals find themselves in Sumter. Shaw Air Force Base, home to the U.S. Air Force’s 20th Fighter Wing, the U.S. Air Force Central Command and the U.S. Army’s Third Army headquarters brings many newcomers to the Sumter community. For some of these families, their first impression—or even knowledge–of the area comes through the military. Sumter’s growing business community also attracts a share of newcomers, as well. Still others come for Sumter’s relatively mild climate, its close proximity to both the ocean and the mountains, its location out of the hustle and bustle of larger cities or many other reasons. No matter the reason, many of the people who have discovered Sumter have decided to call it home. One of those people, Nancy Lee Zimpleman, moved to Sumter in 2001 from Louisiana to take a job with the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. 8|


“The people were all so warm and welcoming,” she said. “Sometimes in smaller towns people are not as welcoming. But Sumter, with its military, is accustomed to new people coming in.” In 2006, Zimpleman, whose maiden name was Garner at the time, met her future husband, Jonathan. “He was building a business here,” she said. “It was a gradual thing. But after we started dating it was like: This is it.” Since then, the Zimpleman family has grown. “I’ve had two babies born right here at Tuomey,” she said. And that only helped cement the family’s resolve to stay in Sumter. Today, the communications director at Alice Drive Baptist Church, Zimpleman said she wouldn’t consider leaving. “We’re remodeling a house downtown,” she said. “I don’t see us going anywhere.” Zimpleman has some advice for others who might have recently moved to the area: “I would encourage people to plug in here,” she said. “There is so much to do here: the museum and downtown events—be a part of it.


Seth Reimer, cultural manager for the Sumter Opera House, said love brought him to Sumter. “This Kansas farm boy fell for a Southern Belle,” he said. “Jennifer Alford was her name at the time.” Today, the Sumter native is known as Mrs. Reimer. Reimer said the couple met at a performing arts college in 2003 and fell in love. “I was living in New York City and she was a Broadway dancer,” he said. “We started dating and things just developed.” Reimer said after his fiancée moved back home to Sumter, he visited several times. On his first visit to the Gamecock City, Reimer visited three places. “I stopped by the Sumer Opera House, The Exhibition Center (now called the Sumter Civic Center) and Patriot Hall—all of the performance venues Sumter had to offer. I ended up visiting several times,” he said. Once Jennifer accepted his proposal, he knew his life was about to change for the better. Reimer had assumed he would have a career in theatre in New York, and things were going well. So it took a little more than love to convince him to leave his life behind and move to South Carolina. “She promised me a car, a lawnmower, a garden and a lawn— none of which I had living in New York,” Reimer said. “All of these were beautiful things that Sumter had to offer.” Things took a whirlwind turn after that, starting with the couple’s wedding in July 2008. “Within 30 days, I had moved from New York, gotten married and bought a house,” he said. “Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made.” Reimer said he discovered a new way of life in Sumter. “You will meet the friendliest people here who will welcome you to the community and show you all of the things Sumter has to offer,” he said. “It’s the type of place where people open doors for you—where waves and hellos are sincere. This is a good community. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”



BRONWYN MCELVEEN Bronwyn McElveen came to Sumter from Greenville in 2008 to further her career. “I was working as a clerk for a judge and he set me up to come to Sumter to work with Judge Buck James,” she said. Unlike most people, however, McElveen didn’t plan to stay here. “The job only lasted a year,” she said. “I had planned to join the Navy as an officer. Fate sometimes has a way of changing life’s plans, and McElveen’s life was about to take an unexpected turn. “I took a job in the Solicitor’s office and then I met Thomas (McElveen),” she said. Before long, the couple fell in love and soon married. “Once I got engaged, I knew Sumter would be my home,” she said. “I love Greenville, but it’s a lot bigger than Sumter. What I love about Sumter is you can really get to know people and get things done.” And McElveen immersed herself in the community, volunteering for various commissions and boards. She has twice been chairwoman of the local United Way drive

and presently chairs the local American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, among others. She is also a deacon at her church, First Presbyterian Church. She said she has no regrets about moving to Sumter. “I’ve seen the community change for the better,” she said. “It has been great to see the positive changes during the past eight years. McElveen said some people have a bad impression of Sumter—one that she says is not deserved. “Some people are under the impression that crime is bad in Sumter,” she said. “Actually, our crime is no worse than other cities around our size. People need to come here and see for themselves what a great community we have here. “I’d tell newcomers to get involved and experience the community for themselves,” she said. “Don’t base your opinion about Sumter on what you might hear. Come see it for yourself. Sumter is a great place to have a home and a great place to raise a family. It’s where I’m raising mine.”

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1575 Airport Rd • Sumter, SC 29153 • 803.469.8010 • 10 |



Kim Harrill arrived in Sumter in 2002 from Guam with her family that consisted of two small boys and a husband who was in the Air Force. An Isle of Palms native, Harrill said she looked forward to moving closer to her family in the Charleston area. “I didn’t know much about Sumter until after we arrived,” she said. “I told my husband I’d move here if we could live on a body of water and if he would build us a swimming pool.” Today, the family lives on Boyle’s Pond and the home has an inground swimming pool. Another thing about Sumter that delighted the family was the city’s nickname. “Our family is a big fan of the University of South Carolina,” she said. “So moving to the Gamecock City was a pleasant surprise.” The Harrills’ oldest son is presently a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. But Harrill didn’t just sit home all day and swim in her pool. To keep heathy she joined the Sumter YMCA, where it didn’t take long for her to find her niche. “They had an opening and I began teaching aerobics and gymnastics,” she said. “And the people at the ‘Y’ became my second family.” When the Air Force reassigned her husband, John in 2006, Harrill knew the family would again have to move. Despite being reassigned to the United Kingdom, the Harrills decided to keep their home back in Sumter. “By then, we considered Sumter our home,” she said. While her husband continued to serve in the Air Force, Harrill again found a job teaching gymnastics and aerobics—this time in England. In 2010, the Harrills came back to Sumter after John Harrill retired from active duty. She again approached the YMCA, thinking they might again hire her, which they did. But there was a catch: The Sumter YMCA no longer offered gymnastics. So she taught aerobics and became the Y’s group exercise coordinator. “We were ecstatic to be back in Sumter,” she said. In addition to the friendliness of the people, Harrill said several other things made the move back attractive. “I love the downtown farmer’s market,” she said. “And there are so many things to do: the Sumter Little Theatre and free downtown concerts—it’s just a vibrant community. There’s a place here that offers yoga. You rarely find that in a town this size. Best of all, it’s pro-military. The people go out of their way to make members of the military feel welcome.”

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Call today to get YourSubscription PO Box 1677 Sumter, SC 29150 803.774.1258 LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |



Race Series encourages year-round commitment

w BY RICK CARPENTER The Sumter community promotes health and fitness in a variety of ways, including a program targeted for avid runners in the area. The 2016 Sumter Series allows runners to register for eight major running events in the City of Sumter for $100. That represents a significant savings for participants who would normally be charged about $25 for each race. By signing up, runners receive a T-shirt for each event and one for the Sumter Series, which will be a longsleeve, dry wick shirt this year. Bronwyn McElveen, an assistant solicitor for the South Carolina Third Judicial Circuit, said she thought of the idea after serving on numerous committees that organized races. She noticed that many of the races were using the same timing company, vendors, sponsors and other promoters which would allow all races to benefit from automatically registering people for all events. The series started with six races in 2013 with the goal of highlighting healthy lifestyles, promoting physical fitness and encouraging series members to bring family and friends to participate in the events and helping to grow smaller events that have had initial success. McElveen said the $100 registration commitment makes a great gift idea for 12 |


friends and family because, not only does it commit someone for the series, it encourages them to train and maintain fitness for the entire year. To be eligible to join the Sumter Series calendar, a run must have been in existence for at least one year, all current race directors must unanimously agree to the addition and money raised at each event must go to benefit a local organization. In other words, the money must stay in the community. With those unique requirements, the city has blessed the series and assists race organizers by offering registration and promotion of the race series and individual events on the city’s website, There you’ll find a listing of the races under the recreation department’s heading. The city not only promotes the series, it generates printed material and offers locations to drop off and collect registration fees. Besides the City of Sumter, other sponsors for the series include Anytime Fitness, Young Professionals of Sumter, YMCA and Palmetto Health Tuomey.

The race schedule for 2016 includes the following races: w Feb. 6, 2016 – Westside Christian Academy Resolution Race 5K w March 19 – Tuomey Foundation 5-miler w April 23 – Recovery Road Race 5K/10K w May 7 – United Way Derby Day Sumter 5K w May 21 – Hot Pursuit 5K w Sept. 17 – Sumter County Library Forrest Ray 5K w Oct. 29 – Sumter Sunrise Rotary 5K w Nov. 24 – YMCA Turkey Trot


For more information about the series or other recreational activities, contact Susan Wild at (803) 774-1651 or by email at

our military...

950 N. Main Streett • S Sumter, SC • • 803.773.1481 LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |



sumter offers Numerous recreational opportunities

w BY RICK CARPENTER If you’re looking for outdoor recreational opportunities in Sumter, your choices are numerous. From mountain biking to tennis to aquatics, Sumter has it all. And even if you just want to hike, you don’t have to go far to enjoy the great outdoors. Dillon Park, just north of U.S. 76 off Wise Drive, offers a variety of outdoor exercise and recreation opportunities including disc golf, both hard and soft surface jogging trails as well as a soft-surface track, softball and soccer fields, a playground and many other options. The soft-surface jogging trail, found at the northwest corner of the park, can double as a hiking or mountain bike trail that covers about six miles and loops back to the park. If you’re a serious mountain biker, Poinsett State Park, at 6660 14 |


Poinsett Park Road in Wedgewood, offers a series of trails designed for whatever your experience level might be. And if you’re a road biker, the Sumter Chain Gang offers group rides on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from about April through September. The group usually meets at Dillon Park or Alice Drive Baptist Church, 1305 Loring Mill Road. The group has a closed Facebook site where rides are announced, but people new to the community can request information and one of the riders will contact you. The Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter represents one of the city’s crown jewels. At its 400 Theatre Drive location, it offers 24 hardsurface courts and is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the tennis center at (803) 774-3969 or email

If you’re a swimmer, there’s the YMCA, 510 Miller Road, and the Sumter Aquatics Center, 1115 S. Lafayette Drive. The Aquatic Center is open from May through October, Tuesday through Friday. For information about the Aquatics Center, call (803) 774-3998. Besides swimming, the YMCA also offers a variety of exercise programs. For more information about YMCA programs, call (803) 773-1404 or email If you’re into golf, there are three main courses in the area including Beech Creek Golf Club, 1800 Sam Gillespie Road, (803) 499-4653; Crystal Lakes Golf Course, 1305 Clara Louise Kellogg Drive, (803) 775-1902; and Sunset Country Club, 1005 Golfcrest Road, (803) 7755541. Sumter is known for its history of producing great baseball players, including legendary 1960 World Series Most Valuable Player Bobby Richardson, who still lives in the community. In that tradition, the city boasts some of the best baseball parks in the state including the Bobby Richardson Complex with six fields at 416 S. Wise Drive, and a 2,000-seat baseball field at Riley Park, located at the corner of North Church and DuBose streets. The city also has a baseball/softball field at 630 S. Sumter St. And, the newest addition, Patriot Park, has five baseball/softball fields and six soccer fields which makes the location ideal for tournaments. And if you’d just like to hike or walk in a surreal setting, Swan Lake Iris Gardens offers a scenic walk through the lake area with a wonderland of flowers, trees and numerous species of swans. The park is located just off West Liberty Street where you can get more information about the city at a visitor’s center that is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Life is good...



arts scene

sumter Arts offer myriad choices

w BY IVY MOORE The arts scene in Sumter is often cited by new companies, families and especially retirees as an important factor in their decision to locate here. Art and cultural events take place often in many venues and all areas of the community, particularly its public and private schools, colleges and universities, businesses, non-profits, senior residences, performance halls, galleries and more. Sumter’s busiest performance venues are the Sumter County Cultural Center and the historic Sumter Opera House. Housed in the cultural center are the Patriot Hall auditorium, Sumter County Gallery of Art, Gallery 135 and the Sumter Little Theatre. On the Patriot Hall stage each year are the Sumter Civic Dance Company’s contemporary dance concert and Jingle with the Arts, concerts by the Sumter Civic Chorale, Sumter Community Concert and Jazz bands; The Nutcracker ballet; The Sumter Arts Showcase;

16 |


numerous Christmas programs; and productions by local school groups. The Sumter County Cultural Commission, based at the center, hosts Fall for the Arts, a festival of music, dance, visual and spoken arts, theater and some surprises, such as the Halloween night presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” complete with props. Its Gallery 135 hosts regular exhibitions by emerging and established artists, while the Sumter County Gallery of Art exhibits work by well-known artists from around the country; the gallery also hosts the annual Sumter Artists Guild Show and the SC Watermedia Society exhibition and provides art classes for all ages, taught by professional artists and art educators. Sumter Little Theatre, in addition to plays such as “Steel Magnolias” and “Agnes of God,” regularly presents “Cabaret Nights,” musical revues showcasing the area’s outstanding local talents. Acting

Heather Boseman I Hugh Jackson I Stephen DesChamps Jay Davis I Leverett Owens I Danielle Thompson

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classes and workshops are also part of the theatre’s mission. The beautiful and historic Sumter Opera House -- with its highly praised acoustic excellence -- continues to expand the number of performances on its stage in the center of downtown. Recent performances included a professional production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Doc Severinsen and his Big Band, country singer Lorrie Morgan, the U.S. Army Ambassadors and many others. Several more nationally and internationally known performers are already scheduled throughout 2016 for this popular venue. The University of South Carolina Sumter presents an annual storytelling festival with nationally recognized guests, a Fall Writers Series and concerts by national and international musicians, and it boasts three art galleries that present work by renowned artists, most of whom present informative artist talks during opening night receptions. Performances, readings and special programs are also held in the university’s Arts and Letters Lecture Hall. Morris College opens its annual arts festival to the public, as well as dramatic performances, lectures and concerts by its accomplished chorale. The Sumter County Museum hosts events with accomplished authors; historic festivals in its early 19th-century replica of Sumter’s backcountry homestead; permanent and revolving exhibits featuring Sumter’s unique history; and more. The Sumter County Library also presents traveling national historical exhibits, hosts book clubs and brings in performers as part of its summer reading program for children. With all these programs, Sumter’s many festivals and other events, there’s always something to do, something to learn and many ways to enrich one’s life.

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2050 Highway 15 South • Sumter, SC 29150 803-481-8555 (phone) • 803-481-4263 (fax) • LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |




Patriot Hall January

Wilson Hall School Graduation

Sumter High Beauty Pageant

w May 29

wJ  anuary 30


w February 26-27

Tuomey-Miss Libby School of Dance Show Case


w June 1

A.D.E Graduation

Civic Center

Band Concert

wF  ebruary 6


w April 2

Kids Fashion Show

w April 15-16

Freed School of Dance performance


Fabulous Friday Clean Comedy Show

wF  ebruary 15 & 16

SCISA Reg 3 Basketball

wF  ebruary 19 & 20

SCISA Basketball Tournament

w April 18


w April 23

Fabulous Friday Clean Comedy Show Sumter Rotary Club Farm to Table

Alice Dr. Middle School Spring Fling Gospel Play


w May 5

Thomas Sumter Dance Recitals

w May 6

wM  arch 17

w March 22 & 24

SC DNR Archery

w March 28

Safe Federal Membership Meeting

Dancin on Main Dance Recitals


w May 10

AMPS International Contest

Sumter Community Jazz Band with SHS School Jazz Band Concert

w May 13-14

Dreamworks Recitals

w May 15

w April 6-9 w April 16

Black River Annual Membership Meeting

w April 18-20

Band Concert 4:00pm

Safe Kids for more info contact Cheryl Jackson (803)236-4077

w May 19-22

w April 28

w May 25 and 27

w April 30

Miss Libby Recitals Freed School Recitals


Civic Chorale Concert 3:00pm


w March 6

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w May 26

Fireman’s Banquet Sumter Combat Veteran’ Banquet for more info LeRoy Peeples (803)509-2868


w May 6

Central Carolina Commencement 10:00 & 3:00

w May 7

Morris College Commencement 10:00

w May 12

SC Job Fair


October 19-22 SCISA Volleyball Tournament


November 4 NAACA Annual Banquet

AKA Sorority Banquet

November 18 – 19 Fireman’s Banquet



Sumter County indoor Garage Sale call in date to reserve booth

w June 9-11

National Double Dutch Competition

w June 23

Safe Fed Easy Street Dinner

December 3 Garage Sale

Parks and Recreation w J anuary 25 – February 11

Sumter County Spring Baseball/ Softball Registration. Sumter County Recreation Department

wA  pril 25 -29

w July 9

Sumter County Garage Sale

Sumter County Senior Fitness Games. Sumter County Recreation Department


wM  ay 21

w August 2 & 3

Feed the Starving Children

w August 6

70’s Jam Concert for more information call Sam Spencer (917)667-2757


November 7 Call in Date for Sumter Garage Sale

w May 20

w June 6


South Carolina Double Dutch State Tournament

w J une 10 – 11

American Double Dutch World Invitational Tournament. Sumter County Civic Center

w August 12

Sumter School District Annual Meeting 1:00

w August 19

Fabulous Friday Clean Comedyfor more information call Gail Kyle (803)236-1949


September 27-October 2 Sumter Fair




Apex tool group Thankful for 40 Years of Growing in Sumter

w BY SUMTER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TEAM Apex Tool Group LLC, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hand and power tools, relies on its Sumter plant and its more than 500 full-time and contract associates to produce more than a million tools each year. But in its 40 years of operation – the plant’s first Crescent® adjustable wrench was made in 1974 – the facility has never been busier than today. What’s driving this explosive growth for Apex Tool Group’s (ATG’s) Sumter operation? In 2014, this Baltimore-based company announced a major expansion of its Sumter factory as a result of production consolidation from other sites. The 100-acre site has two buildings, which were modified to utilize 395,000 square feet. The floorplan upgrades now allow Sumter to house dozens of incoming forging and stamping lines. “For the last 12 months, we have readied and ramped up transferred - and new - equipment to handle an 80 percent increase in production,” shares ATG’s Will Silvester, project director for the recent facility expansion at Sumter. 20 |


The large uptick in factory floor space and production cells – which required the help of Sumter demolition, relocation, expansion and remodeling contractors – also necessitated a major hiring boom. “We hired over 200 associates at Sumter to handle the increase in work, and we haven’t stopped looking for great talent with manufacturing experience. Sumter is still hiring,” says Al Powell, director of operations in Sumter. That expanded workforce includes nearly 50 associates who relocated to Sumter from consolidated factories in Arkansas and Texas, thanks to “a tremendous community effort to host potential transferees,” said Silvester. “Sumter’s city leaders and major organizations orchestrated town halls with civic and business leaders, guided tours, school visits and housing info for over 150 associates and their families as part of several Familiarization Tours last year, to show them what Sumter has to offer. This community’s gracious hospitality truly made the difference in our being able to attract these skilled employees to our expanded operation.”

As a matter of fact, ATG learned that some of its early transferees from other plants helped recruit their former co-workers. “Several more signed on to move here after hearing how nice the area was from their friends,” added David Golden, senior HR manager for ATG at Sumter.

Statewide and Local Recognition

ATG was honored by the Sumter Economic Development Board as its “2014 Manufacturer of the Year.” The Board stated that “the committee was impressed that Apex invested millions in this expansion and brought so many new jobs to the community.” In addition, Duke Energy presented ATG with the 2014 Power Partners award, given to a select group of commercial energy customers in Duke’s service territory. Apex is one of only four winners in the state of South Carolina and was recognized for its commitment

22 |


to responsible energy use at its Sumter facility.

Partnering for Success

Apex recognizes the value of strong economic development partners, and Sumter’s business and government leaders have been ready to help every step of the way. Those supporters include Greg Thompson and Jay Schwedler of the Sumter Economic Development Board, Jim Shrift at readySC, Dennis Turner from Duke Energy and the team at Central Carolina Technical College. “We are grateful for the support we have received here in Sumter and South Carolina,” says Ryan Cagle, vice president, project management. “Dynamic local organizations and so many individuals have definitely helped us expand. More jobs at Apex help the entire Sumter community. It’s great to be a part of that.”

piggly wiggly Feeds your life.






Continental Expansion underway

w BY SUMTER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TEAM Continental Tire’s expansion into South Carolina continues to strengthen the economy in Sumter and the state. With a current workforce comprising nearly 800 employees the plant, located off of U.S. 521 in Sumter County, launched operations just last year with the goal to roll out more than 4 million units annually by 2017. Late last year, the company announced plans to expand to enable the Sumter plant to produce more than 8 million units annually by 2021. The Phase II expansion should be completed in early 2017. The expansion will double the current workforce and add machinery. As Continental Tire The Americas prepares to open the new

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720,000-square-foot production hall, it will rely on local workforce development programs to assist with training and recruitment of skilled workers. Continental currently offers several apprenticeship programs through local high schools, technical colleges and the statewide workforce training program readySC to expose potential candidates to key educational competencies that are required to be successful in the field of manufacturing. The readySC training technique not only focuses on developing a skilled labor force with a heightened level of readiness specifically for Continental, but more to strengthen and create a better-rounded citizen. “It’s about connecting every individual in this community with the

resources needed to join a highly skilled workforce, both for today’s existing industries in Sumter and for continued manufacturing growth in the future,” said Craig Baartman, Sumter Plant Manager. From basic production operators to multicraft technicians, Continental strives to remain competitive with its wages and benefits at all employee levels, offering tuition reimbursement and other advancement opportunities to employees who qualify. Sumter, Lee, Clarendon and Kershaw county residents make up the lion’s share of Continental’s employees. That coupled with the more than $100 million Continental has spent with local and statewide businesses is a great aid in bolstering the region and increasing the personal income. The expansion will bring the total investment at the Continental Tire The Americas plant to more than $500 million and eventually bring the head count to nearly 1,600 employees. The Sumter plant produces passenger and light truck tires to help meet customer demand for Continental and General brand tires in the Americas market. “I’ve spent enough time in Sumter now to know that this is a strong community with great people, and dedicated leaders looking toward the future,” said Baartman. “Continental Tire is proud to continue to be a part of Sumter’s success story.”




Local industrial plant employees illustrate

‘family’ spirit

Danny Burke, left, and Ke Ke McMickell check coolers during the Becton Dickinson and Co. barbecue to benefit flood victims.

Lavon Christmas, seen at left, and Gene McGriff put chicken quarters on the grill during the fundraising event.

(Editor’s note: In early October 2015, the Sumter community received more than 20 inches of rain in three days that flooded much of the community. What was later called a 1,000-year flood devastated the community, but at the same time, people in the community came together to support each other like never before. That includes major industries in town. The following article first appeared in The Sumter Item and it illustrates just how one of the community’s leading industrial plants responded to the needs of its employees. We think you will agree, that even when challenged, “Life Is Good in Sumter.”)

w BY RICK CARPENTER As Becton Dickinson and Co. Sumter Plant Manager Kevin Johnson learned that co-workers were beginning to ask for donations for other employees who had lost everything in the early October flood, he assembled his leadership team to determine the extent to which employees were affected. While nearly every employee was affected one way or another, out of BD’s 650 employees, six had lost virtually everything. Realizing that co-workers were searching for ways to help, he asked four employees to organize a fundraiser that would benefit those six families. Johnson noted he wanted to do something for the victims that 26 |


would also give something back to those who donated. “What do South Carolinians do during a tragedy,” Johnson asked. “We break bread together,” he said. Johnson said he knew that employee Danny Burke had experience creating benefit barbecue events, so he asked him to put together a fundraising meal including barbecued chicken. Johnson would open the corporate checkbook to fund the supplies for the barbecue, and Burke would do the logistics of gathering grills, determining how much food was necessary, asking employees to volunteer to prepare the food and overseeing the grilling as well as all other aspects of the meal. Meanwhile, he tasked Christopher Floyd, Shirl Goodman and Rose

Allsbrook with creating tickets, marketing the event to employees and administering the financial side of the event. What started as an idea with a few people asking for donations for co-workers blossomed into a major fundraising event that had donations pouring in from not only the Sumter BD plant, but also from people in the community and BD workers all around the world. BD employs 45,000 people worldwide. The leadership team decided an $8 meal ticket donation would get employees a home-cooked meal prepared on site by volunteers, mostly employees during their non-shift hours. As Floyd’s marketing campaign materialized, ticket sales escalated. Burke realized the number of meals was rising exponentially. He quickly did the math on four BD shifts a day, which would require six serving times. The team of volunteers would serve the first meal at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, and the last at 1 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17. Burke bought 2,350 chicken quarters from Piggly Wiggly at a reduced price, but volunteers had to clean and trim the chickens. And because chicken takes as long as two hours to cook, the grills would have to start early that Thursday morning and run through Saturday. Many volunteers, including Burke, volunteered that entire time. Burke just shrugged his shoulders and said, “When you got tired, you just remembered what these people went through, and it would re-energize you.” Burke likened the outpouring of support to a miracle. Every time he mentioned he needed another grill, someone came up with one. Before it was over, Burke was conducting a barbecue orchestra on 10 industrial-sized grills. When he sent out a request for a volunteer that was needed, four or five would volunteer. “Whenever there was a need, everyone stepped up,” Burke said. The results were awe inspiring for the company. Besides donations for the meals, some employees chipped in as much as $125. Vendors and suppliers donated to the cause, and employees watched as a scene right out of the movie “Field of Dreams” emerged — a stream of cars turned the company parking lot into a virtual drivethru as Sumter residents came in droves to pick up meals.

From the left, Kevin Johnson (plant manager); Antony Kushner (VP WW Operations and Business Processes); Rob Fauvie (WW Director of Manufacturing) and Brent Peterson (Sr HR Director) work on the food line.

As people drove up to get their meals, they saw a sign intended for BD employees that said, “BD Sumter Family Fundraiser: We take care of our own.” Johnson said that statement says it all. The event raised more than $22,000 for the victims. That averages more than four tickets sold for each employee. Becton Dickinson and Co. provided an undisclosed amount to the victims on top of the money raised, and the company donated $250,000 to local charities for flood victims. But the fundraiser may be priceless for the camaraderie and sense of family it generated for the employees. Johnson said tears of joy and hugs have been shared between many employees. Earnestine Whatley, one of the six recipients of the money, said she lost everything in the flood, including her vehicle. She was rescued by boat and taken to a hotel where she lived for more than three weeks before renting an apartment. At a time when she was devastated by her loss, she said she was overwhelmed by the support she received from her co-workers. Not only did BD employees and leaders help, but for the weeks that followed, work had become a place where she could focus on something other than her life after the flood. “I’m still not quite over it,” she said in early November. “I have good and bad days. Coming back to work is a good thing; it brings a sense of normalcy to my life.” By that Tuesday, Oct. 6, the BD family had come to her rescue, she said. People from all shifts at BD went by her home to guide her through what she needed to do. “What can you say about being in a family like this?” she asked. Just to have a place to stay and food to eat means so much to her now. She said some people say it was just material things that she lost, “but it’s still your life.” “This has made me stronger,” Whatley said. “If I can endure this, I can endure anything. It has certainly increased my faith in people who will go out of their way to help others when they are in need.”

Becton Dickinson & Co. produces medical supplies. The Sumter plant produces more than 1 billion needles and tubes a year for disposable blood collection devices. When the early October flood hit, BD, at 1575 Airport Road, had minor plant damage. But many employees couldn’t get to work, and the company lost about two days of production. After the flood hit on Sunday, Oct. 4, the plant was back in operation by Tuesday, Oct. 6. Even the employees who lost everything were back at work even though administrators encouraged them to take time off to take care of personal things.




Palmetto Health Tuomey: A Century in the making

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Public Relations Manager, Palmetto Health Tuomey

When Timothy J. Tuomey left provisions in his will that led to the creation of the Sumter Hospital 100 years ago, no one could have imagined the advancements that would take place in medicine, technology and culture over the decades to come. Yet one thing has remained constant: an unwavering commitment to providing safe, highquality and cost-effective healthcare services to our community. As the hospital celebrated A Century Strong, it reached another exciting milestone on Jan. 1, 2016. It understood that remaining a standalone hospital was no longer the best way to meet the healthcare needs in the community and went to great measures to carefully select a partner that shares its core values, commitment to quality and vision. With its philosophy of “One person. One moment. One love.” -- Palmetto Health was the natural choice. When it became Palmetto Health Tuomey, it formed the largest healthcare system in the state. It is better together, it is using that synergy to continue its commitment to quality care and patient satisfaction into the next century. The medical staff at Palmetto Health Tuomey includes more than 150 physicians representing 25 medical specialties. The local facilities include a Level II Nursery, an Intensive Care Unit, 10 operating suites, an Outpatient Surgery Center, Imaging Center, Wound Care, Cancer Treatment and an Infusion Center, as well as cardiac, speech, physical and occupational rehabilitative services. Palmetto Health Tuomey’s diagnostic capabilities feature comprehensive pathology services, interventional radiology and cardiac catheterization. Transitional care is provided through its Home Health Services program, hospice, sub-acute floor and palliative care. Physician practices include Family Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery, Spine and Pain and Obstetrics. The partnership with Palmetto Health enhances patient care even further, as the system will offer Sumter residents seamless access to an expanded network of specialty services.

Sammie McCray, Associate Cook


The Wound Healing Center Chronic wound care impacts 6.5 million people a year nationwide, costing $20 billion. Palmetto Health Tuomey’s wound center specializes in the treatment of chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers and dehisced surgical wounds. The center offers outpatient care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as disease management and diabetes care, vascular studies, tissue culturing and pathology, biological skin substitute applications and clinical or surgical debridement.

Dr. Todd Warrick

Cancer Treatment Center Aggressive technology + clinical expertise + personalized care: The center ensures that local patients receive the best cancer care without having to travel to get it. For nearly 25 years, CTC has maintained cuttingedge technology and new services to fight cancer. It was one of the first facilities in the state to offer TrueBeam radiation treatment, using stateof-the-art linear accelerators, paired with CT-based treatment planning, which allows radiation oncologists to offer intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The center utilizes stereotactic body radiation therapy for early-stage lung cancer to allow highly precise delivery of high doses of radiation to a small target.



The Women’s Center | The Birthplace The 18,000-square-foot Women and Infants Pavilion is a dedicated unit designed to meet the unique needs of gynecological and obstetric patients. The $23.6 million facility features 24 modern inpatient rooms, designed to create the optimum conditions for in-room treatment and examinations, while accommodating supportive family and friends comfortably. For postpartum patients, the center provides a worthy extension of its labor and delivery rooms. The Level II Nursery allows the hospital to treat high-risk newborns. The center also features breastfeeding rooms, a lactation consultant and education nurse, antepartum rooms and a bereavement room. The Infusion Center Efficient, convenient and customer-friendly: Having an infusion center on site means that patients are able to get home from the hospital more quickly and perhaps even avoid being admitted. Palmetto Health Tuomey provides treatment for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as infusions of medications such as antibiotics, antivirals and iron drugs in an outpatient setting. Infusion therapy is also utilized for hydration. Telemedicine Telemedicine eliminates distance barriers and offers patients access to great care and quick intervention. Palmetto Health Tuomey uses telemedicine technology to provide clinical care in the areas of mental health, advanced intensive care and stroke. If a patient presents stroke-like symptoms, time is of the essence; neurologists from the Medical University of South Carolina can guide intervention and save lives. Palmetto Health Tuomey uses credentialed psychiatrists and intensivists as well to improve medical access to services not consistently available. Industrial Medicine and Wellness | Community Wellness Palmetto Health Tuomey wants a healthy workforce and a healthy community, so it provides services to help people get and stay well. Corporate wellness initiatives, cholesterol and diabetes screenings 30 |


and drug testing options are available. Some employers partner with IMW to bring nurses into their facilities, to provide on-site first aid, check blood pressure, work on health and safety initiatives and evaluate jobs for ergonomic issues. Wesmark Boulevard Campus Palmetto Health Tuomey’s satellite campus on Alice Drive offers outpatient imaging, programs in physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, cardiac rehab, audiology and one of the most comprehensive sports medicine/orthopedics programs in the region. It provides pre-season screenings for athletes, injury clinics to assess injuries post-game and onsite sporting coverage. The imaging center provides noninvasive testing procedures such as MRI and CT scans, ultrasound, bone-density studies and X-ray, as well as 4D ultrasounds for pregnant women.


Palmetto Health Heart Hospital The Heart Hospital is South Carolina’s only freestanding hospital dedicated solely to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hearts. Palmetto Health’s continuum of care begins with disease prevention and management, and extends to emergency services and procedures, diagnosis and surgery and rehabilitation. Services include cardiac catheterization and diagnostics, cardiovascular surgery, pulmonary rehabilitation, a chest pain ER and a mobile coronary care unit. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital The state’s first children’s hospital treats more than 80,000 children each year. It has a Children’s Emergency Center and offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children. Supportive, family-centered care includes centers for sleep, cancer and blood disorders and cystic fibrosis, as well as a critical care transport team, physical and specialty therapy, pediatric intensive care and palliative care and the Tom Bates Day Hospital.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit The NICU at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is an extraordinary place for healing and growth for some of the tiniest and sickest babies in our region, and it is committed to it remaining that way. As only one of five Level III NICUs in South Carolina and the designated Regional Perinatal Center, the NICU provides expert care for the smallest and sickest babies in a 16-county region, which encompasses Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties. Palmetto Health Richland Trauma Center It’s the only Level I Trauma Center in the Midlands, caring for an average of 2,400 serious injuries each year. The interdisciplinary team is composed of trauma and specialty surgeons, emergency medicine and other specialty physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and other healthcare professionals to provide total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation. Stroke Center The only joint commission-designated primary stroke center in the Midlands is led by an internationally recognized stroke neurologist and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. The stroke team is often referred to as the “Brain Attack Team.” It is ready to treat victims of stroke, brain aneurysms and other abnormal vascularities of the brain 24/7 as well as provide interventional treatment to retrieve clots causing a blockage of blood supply to brain tissue. For more information about Palmetto Health Tuomey, visit its website at

Michelle Logan-Owens, CEO

1018 North Guignard Dr • Sumter, SC 29150 • 803.773.5567




Central carolina Continues to expand

w BY ADRIENNE SARVIS Central Carolina Technical College, 506 N. Guignard, is a two-year institution that primarily serves Clarendon, Lee, Kershaw and Sumter counties. The college has two campuses in Sumter, a main campus and a Health Sciences Center, and other campuses in Camden and Bishopville. Students can choose from a multitude of programs of study including computer technology, criminal justice and paralegal, health sciences, industrial and engineering technology, business and more. In 2015, the college took major strides to increase educational opportunities for students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields with the successful inaugural year of a paid industrial internship program and the construction of a manufacturing 32 |


training facility. “Central Carolina continues to expand to meet the needs of local businesses and industries,” said CCTC President Tim Hardee. The college celebrated the grand opening of its state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center on Oct. 15, 2015. The 104,000–square-foot building holds equipment for CCTC’s basic and advanced mechatronics, machining and computer numerical control technology, and engineering graphics technology programs. The training center will be used to train applicants and employees of Continental Tire the Americas and other businesses and industries in the area. Students enrolled in the college’s Industrial and Engineering

Technology Division can take advantage of the Work Experience program, a paid, 200-hour hands-on learning experience. CCTC partnered with Santee-Lynches Workforce Investment Board, Sumter Economic Development Board and local industrial and technology businesses to create the internship program so students could receive one-on-one training with organizations such as BectonDickinson, Continental Tire the Americas, Mancor Industries, and Caterpillar Inc. Hardee said the Work Experience program was a huge success and the college is preparing to bring back the program in spring 2016. Through another partnership between CCTC and Sumter School District local high school students can also advance in the science, technology, engineering and math fields with the STEM 10 and mechatronics program. Students can receive close to 30 credit hours with the college and graduate with a high school diploma and a basic certificate in

mechatronics from CCTC upon completing the course at Sumter Career and Technology Center. Hardee said the college is also in the works of developing a mentor program for high school students. Over at the CCTC Health Sciences Center, 133 S. Main St., the massage therapy program is one of a few in the country that has been remodeled to meet healthcare-level standards and be introduced in the hospital setting. CCTC also celebrates its surgical technology program that has seen a 100 percent pass rate for the National Certification for Surgical Technologist from 2012 to 2015. During the yearlong course, surgical technology students learn everything from the proper way to scrub up before an operation, identifying surgical equipment and maintaining a sterile environment, to setting up an operation room for procedures. For more information about CCTC go to

We Do What Big Banks Do... Only Better. Personal Service. Local Decisions. ,

235 West Wesmark Blvd, Sumter, South Carolina LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |



USC Sumter Cost-Effective higher education

Wallace Black

w BY ADRIENNE SARVIS Those seeking a higher education can do so cost-effectively by pursuing an associate degree at the University of South Carolina Sumter. After completing a two-year degree, students have the option to pursue one of seven bachelor’s degree programs online through USC Palmetto College. “Interest in Palmetto College continues to grow at USC Sumter,” said Regional Campus Dean Michael Sonntag. Four-year degree programs include business administration, criminal justice, nursing, human services, elementary education, liberal studies and organizational leadership. The online learning environment can also make earning a degree easier for Sumter’s military population. 34 |


“While being deployed often means our service people have to delay their degree progress, our Palmetto College programs now make it possible for many service men and women to continue their education, even once deployed,” Sonntag said. The college’s student services are also made available to the local Air Force and Army community at the Shaw Air Force Base Education Center, which is about 20 minutes from the USC Sumter campus. The college has a fulltime representative at Shaw to assist service members as they apply for and enroll in courses, Sonntag said. Local high school students can also expand their education by participating in USC Sumter’s Early College program. “Early College is our attempt to allow capable high school students to complete a college degree in a shorter amount of time and at a much-reduced cost,” Sonntag said.

Through the Early College program, high school juniors and seniors can earn 60 or more college credit hours by the time they graduate. Since the typical bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits, students will be halfway to a fouryear degree when they graduate from high school, Sonntag said. Sumterites have the opportunity to increase their knowledge, or just have a good time, while taking enrichment courses through the Continuing Education program. Participants do not need to attend the college in order to sign up for a course. “I think the goal of continuing education is mostly focused on improving quality of life for our citizens and helping them broaden their exposure to new topics with a guiding hand from a more experienced expert or guide,” Sonntag said. Susan Brabham, director of the program, said the choice of classes is based on what community members have requested. Some of the Continuing Education classes include couponing, photography, sign language, ceramics, wedding planning, the Carolina Shag, self-defense for women and astronomy. For more information about USC Sumter and its programs visit or call (803) 775-8727. David Decker

Tori, student




LaDawn Collins and Denise Kennington designed the interior dĂŠcor for the Sidebar Restaurant.

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Reclaiming history with LaDawn

w BY SUSAN DOHERTY OSTEEN Rusted metal. Broken chairs. Old windows. Busted pianos. Salvaged wood. Scrap metal. Cracked tables. The above items could describe a junkyard, but for one enterprising Sumter designer, the list is full of potential. LaDawn Collins uses her talents and elbow grease to turn well-worn and worn-out items into art and furniture. “I feel so lucky to have the chance to do what I love doing,” Collins says. “I love designing and creating functional furniture and art with reclaimed wood, metal and glass.” Her ability to turn trash into treasure is apparent at Hartre, her showroom and studio. Cabinets, tables and chairs have been given a second life, blending history into functional art. “We specialize in rustic design,” she says. “When we can, we like to add a twist to make each piece modern and elegant, too. We make more tables than anything else. They are different and unique each time.” She works closely with her customers to custom make pieces while keeping reclaimed wood as the focal feature. Her partner in crime and creativity at Hartre is her best friend, Beth Williams. For a recent project she took an antique dining room table, unusable because of a missing leaf, and fashioned part of a discarded piano keyboard to fit the empty space. Reclaimed glass set over the ebony and ivory keys provided a flat table surface. “I really enjoy repurposing pianos.” Collins says. “I learn so much about furniture construction and design when I begin taking a piano apart and rebuilding it. Sometimes, actually many times, it is not the item that is so interesting, but the process and the people I get to work with.”

Currently, she is working closely with the owners and employees at Sumter Machinery Company. Collins relocated Hartre from 39 West Liberty Street to the former Sumter Machinery Company store on Brooklyn Street. “As a military spouse, the Sumter Machinery Company employees have become my family away from New Mexico,” says Collins. Her relationship with Sumter Machinery started when she began salvaging wooden patterns that remained from the years that Sumter Machinery poured iron for casting molds. By repurposing the wooden patterns into tables, mirrors, frames and cabinets, part of the Sumter Machinery Company legacy lives on in the homes and offices of her clients. “LaDawn has brought new purpose and life to Sumter Machinery,” says Sumter Machinery Company President Vivian Brogdon. “She has an extraordinary ability to take something old and bring it back to life..” Collins credits Brogdon and the Sumter Machinery team for much of her success in Sumter. She has learned to weld, forge and plasma cut from head foreman Frankie Frye and his crew. “I have never been afraid to use tools and try new techniques,” she says. “I grew up watching my parents and grandparents work very hard on the farm and in the barns. I learned a lot just from watching them. These days, I watch the very talented men at Sumter Machinery, and, when they have time, they teach me different building techniques.” She says she has been repurposing items all her life, a skill important on her family’s farm in Portales, New Mexico. When she was seven years old she and a cousin turned an old peanut thrasher into a clubhouse. “Growing up on a farm, you learn to use, reuse and repurpose everything you have.” she says.



TOP: Collins repurposes wooden patterns from Sumter Machinery Company into art and furniture. MIDDLE: Reclaimed wood, metal and glass were repurposed to create a rustic design at Sidebar Restaurant. BOTTOM: Collins at Hartre Studio

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Her first commercial venture happened by accident in 2010 while she was stationed at Eglin AFB in Florida. Collins wanted to raise money for the 86th Combat Hammer Spouses Group to sponsor families of deployed Airmen over the holidays. The group only had $17 in the bank. With help and input from several friends, Collins repurposed furniture into play kitchens for children, which they auctioned to fund the organization. The idea was so successful it eventually led Collins and friends to found the company Gourmet Giggles, which “upcycles” old furniture into whimsical toy kitchenettes for children. Collins moved to Sumter when her husband was transferred to Shaw Air Force Base in 2013. He has since retired, but the couple and their two children happily still call Sumter home. “I have a very patient husband,” Collins says. “He is used to making sudden stops along the highway when I see interesting discarded items – he doesn’t like it, but he is used to it!” Her most ambitious project to date is the stunning interior of the Sidebar Restaurant. The new venue, an offshoot of the popular Hamptons Restaurant, is decidedly focused on nostalgia, both on its menu and its décor. Owners Danielle and Greg Thompson wanted the historic property to reflect the fabric of Sumter. Collins worked with the Thompsons, interior designer Denise Kennington, and Sumter Machinery to create a space that is both rustic and innovative. Salvaged bead board provides a transition wall between the Sidebar and the Hamptons patio. Reclaimed wooden conveyor belts from the Korn Funiture Factory line the back bar wall and support iron and reclaimed-glass shelves to display bourbons and other bottled spirits. Heart pine reclaimed from Sumter Machinery was used for all the tables, baseboards, barstools, trim and doors. “Heart pine lumber comes from Long Leaf Pines, which no longer grow as big and strong as they once did,” Collins says. “The trees were between 200400 years old before they were milled. Fully mature heart pine lumber comes from trees that are approximately 500 years old! It is simply beautiful.” Everything old is new again at Sidebar. This holds true for the deviled eggs and fried bologna sandwiches to the pocketbook hooks under the bar, which began life as railroad spikes. Even the restrooms have been recycled into works of art featuring locally sourced cedar vanities and reclaimed siding along the walls. “The bar top is galvanized steel that we developed a chemical process to give it the rustic patina it now has,” she says. “We followed it up by pouring epoxy over it to give it a very elegant finish.” The interior of the Sidebar is easily the largest project Collins has worked on to date, but it may not hold that title for long. She is currently partnering with artist Heather Boseman and the Sumter Board of Realtors to recreate the art deco presence of the old B and H Gas Station at the corner of Main and Bartlett. Plans are still underway, but Collins says they hope to partner with the city to turn the property into a public space, much like the Centennial Rotary Plaza at the intersection of Liberty and Main. “We are recreating the space to bring it back to the Art Deco era,” Collins says. The project salvaged the old tile floor of the gas station, and the final product may include a 20-foot water fountain shaped like an antique gas pump. In all, Collins is very happy with the support and inspiration she has found in Sumter. “I truly think that everyone has a God-given talent and mine is to see beauty in discarded items,” she says. “People are interested to see what we will do next. I think that we will continue to grow and thrive right here in Sumter.” Hartre is located in the Sumter Machinery Store, 103 Brooklyn Street. Store hours are from Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., or by appointment. Phone (334) 868-3528

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historic homes of Sumter

w BY SAMMY WAY From 1890 to 1940, the city of Sumter experienced a period of unprecedented growth and development brought on by the influx of new businesses and expansion of the rail industry. Fortunately, a number of families have been able to preserve some of these historic treasures that illuminate our community’s history and illustrate the changes in architecture with the passage of time. In 1890, it was reported in the Watchman and Southron that “the growth of Sumter had been so rapid in the last five years and the demand for houses within the limits of our city were so great, to have induced some of our enterprising citizens to open up for residences in a portion of the city, hitherto utilized only as farming lands.” Several articles published in the Watchman and Southron noted a number of changes taking place as the city of Sumter continued 40 |


to expand. We have compiled a sampling of quotes taken from the newspaper that provide brief descriptions of several new properties and their owners. The paper stated, “During the last few days the surveyors have been busy staking off streets and blocks in the northwestern portion of the city, extending from Main Street opposite the place of Mr. J. B. Roach and residence of the late Judge Green, westward to the Corbett lands. These streets were broad and constructed with such regularity as to make a beautiful suburb to our growing city.” The following quotes of information were taken from The Watchman and Southron newspaper: “The extension of Church Street one third of a mile beyond the residence of Col. Jos. H. Earle made it one of the handsomest streets and the pleasantest drives in the city, we hope to see elegant

FACING PAGE: Bradford Plantation ABOVE: McLaurin House LEFT TOP: Brunson House LEFT MIDDLE: Home of Horace and Emma Harby BOTTOM: Ligon Terrace, Villa Maria, N. Main St. RIGHT TOP: Cherryvale Plantation

residences being built on either side, where the land is said to be 6 feet higher than at the intersection of Main and Liberty Streets. The blocks will be of convenient size. The lots are about 80 feet front by 200 deep, and we are informed that they will be sold at reasonable figures, so that all may be able to secure for themselves desirable locations for houses. There will be several streets running from Main Street westward through the entire tract of land and others in the city.” “Westward on the Stateburg Road beyond Capt. Gaillard’s residence, including the Dargan place there will be quite a number of fine building lots. These streets will be graded in a very short time, and oak trees that grow so quickly in our soil will be set out on either side, this will certainly be the most attractive portion of the city of Sumter.” “We view with pleasure the increasing interest of our citizens in the

prosperity of our town, and feel assured that in the near future with its present and increasing railroad facilities, its educational advantages, its factories, cotton compress and other enterprises it will soon become the most thriving and prosperous city within the state. We have no sudden abnormal boom, but a steady growth that shows itself upon our streets, in our businesses, being erected, and now this latest enterprise of extending the city, that our friends Dr. Hughson, and Messrs. A. S. and W. A. Broyn have entered upon, shows the demand that is being made for more eligible building lots by those who are desirous of making their homes in our midst.” In 1891, it was reported in the Watchman and Southron that several “large, airy, well-built and comfortable homes” were built or were under construction by several of Sumter’s leading citizens. The ensuing are examples of several notices published in the paper that



TOP: John D. Lee Home MIDDLE: CT Mason Home BOTTOM: Mood Home

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provide evidence of this increased active home construction. “The residence of Mr. Horace Harby on Church Street is one of the finest in the state, and combines beauty of architecture with the best materials and workmanship. It contains fifteen large rooms besides the halls.” “Mr. Ernest Bultman of Ducker and Bultman on Main Street, next to the Presbyterian parsonage built a large home which was a model of neatness and comfort.” “Mr. C. T. Mason, Jr., is proceeding with the greatest elaboration to make his home, one of the gems of architecture and completeness. It will be heated with a furnace and provided with all modern appliances.” “Mr. D. Rosendorf’s home next to the Mason House on Main Street is built in the style of a modern city house and has many novel attractions. The beautiful hard driveway on West Liberty Street leading to Charleston Sumter & Northern Rail Road depot was ornamented by some of the loveliest homes in the town. Among them were the elegant residences of Messrs. Ferdinand and Mitchell Levi.” “On Washington Street were the new and handsome homes of Messrs. W. F. Shaw, W. H. Ingram, Schwartz Bros., Chas. McFadden, W. A. Pringle and others. General Moise’s new home, which we have mentioned before was one of the prettiest in Sumter.” “In 1912 several homes were being constructed including the W. B. Boyle two-story, eight-room house, brick-veneered structure; Robert Shelor built an eight-room brick-veneered structure on Calhoun Street. F. C. Manning was building a small cottage on North Main Street on what was formally the McDowell property. A residence was being put up by Mr. J. L. McCallum and was a twostory, seven-room building. “ “On the corner of Salem Avenue and Liberty Street, Mr. J. Z. Tisdale has just completed a nice two-story residence, having eight rooms.” “Three practically new buildings were those of the Rev. Friday K. Kershaw, Thomas Jefferson and James L. Foggie, which were being remodeled near the corner of Council Street and Oakland Avenue. The buildings are six to eight room two-story structures. One of them was already occupied.” “In 1941 a unique housing development was announced for the Sumter community by the Henry P. Moses Company. The plans called for the building of a court of houses on Haynsworth Street on what was generally referred to as the Judge H.L.B. Wells property. The land in question consisted of a peach orchard (i.e. the name given to the development was “Orchard Place”) and was located ‘between the two houses once occupied by H. A. Mood, Jr., and Julius Pitts.’ There was to be a 50 foot-wide street cut down the middle of the court. ‘On each side of the street there were three small houses, either frame or brick veneer construction making six houses in all.’” “Plans called for the construction of a large apartment building at the end of the court. The building was to have a U shape configuration, and the apartments would vary in size.” Sumter has undergone a steady growth since its inception. The homes constructed have varied in size, and the architecture has been consistent with the fashionable architecture of the different periods. Sumterites are blessed to have many of the beautiful historic homes to visit and study. We are also fortunate that photographs and studies on the histories of many of the razed structures remain.

Education Sumter School District 1345 Wilson Hall Rd, Sumter, 803-469-6900 Alice Drive Elementary School 251 Alice Dr., Sumter, 803-775-0857 Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Rd., Sumter, 803-775-0821 Bates Middle School 715 Estate St., Sumter, 803-775-0711 Brewington Academy 4300 E. Brewington Rd, Sumter, 803-495- 8069 Cherryvale Elementary School 1420 Furman Dr., Sumter, 803-494-8200

public schools Oakland Primary School 5415 Oakland Dr., Sumter, 803-499-3366

F.J. DeLaine Elementary School 5355 Cain Savannah Rd., Wedgefield 803-494-2661 Furman Middle School 3400 Bethel Church Rd., Sumter, 803-481-8519 High Hills Elementary School 4971 Frierson Rd., Shaw AFB, 803-499-3327 Hillcrest Middle School 4355 Peach Orchard Rd., Dalzell, 803-499-3341

Pocalla Springs Elementary School 2060 Bethel Church Rd., Sumter 803-481-5800 Rafting Creek Elementary School 4100 Hwy. 261 N., Rembert, 803-432-2994 R.E. Davis Elementary School 345 Eastern School Rd., Sumter 803-495-3247 Shaw Heights Elementary School 5121 Frierson Rd., Shaw AFB , 803-666-2335

Kingsbury Elementary School 825 Kingsbury Dr., Sumter, 803-775-6244

Sumter Career and Technology Center 2612 McCray’s Mill Rd., Sumter, 803-481-8575

Chestnut Oaks Middle School 1200 Oswego Rd., Sumter, 803-775-7272

Lakewood High School 350 Old Manning Rd., Sumter 803-506-2700 or 803-506-2704

Crestwood High School 2000 Oswego Rd., Sumter, 803-469-6200

Lemira Elementary School 952 Fulton St., Sumter, 803-775-0658

Crosswell Drive Elementary School 301 Crosswell Dr., Sumter, 803-775-0679

Manchester Elementary School 200 Clark St., Pinewood, 803-452-5454

Crosswell Park Early Childhood Center 475 Crosswell Dr., Sumter, 803-774-5900

Mayewood Middle School 4300 E. Brewington Rd., Sumter 803-495-8014

Ebenezer Middle School 3440 Ebenezer Rd., Sumter, 803-469-8571

Millwood Elementary School 24 Pinewood Rd., Sumter, 803-775-0648

Sumter High School 2580 McCray’s Mill Rd., Sumter, 803-481-4480 Sumter County Adult Education 905 N. Main St. Sumter, 803-778-6432 Wilder Elementary School 975 S. Main Street, Sumter, 803-773-5723 Willow Drive Elementary School 26 Willow Dr., Sumter, 803-773-5796

private schools Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church Christian & Academic School 415 Manning Ave, Sumter, SC 803-934-0818 St. Anne Catholic School 11 S. Magnolia St., Sumter 803-775-3632 St. Francis Xavier High School 15 School St., Sumter, 803-773-0210

Sumter Academy 2410 Bethel Church Rd. 803-418-7870 Sumter Christian School 420 S. Pike W., Sumter, 803-773-1902 Thomas Sumter Academy 5265 Camden Hwy, Rembert 803-499-3378

Wedgefield University for Kids 6220 Wedgefield Rd., Wedgefield 803-494-3887 Westside Christian Academy 554 Pinewood Rd., Sumter, 803-774-4406 Wilson Hall 520 Wilson Hall Rd. Sumter 803-469-3475

colleges & universities Central Carolina Technical College 803-778-1961

Saint Leo University 803-666-3221

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 803-666-7401

Sumter Vocational Rehab Center 1760 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 803-469-8045

Morris College 803-934-3200

Webster University 803-666-2254

Troy University Sumter Campus 773-0025 Shaw Campus 803-666-3313 LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |



Small town food Big taste



Sidebar on Main, the newest extension of Hamptons restaurant, opened in October 2015 with the intention of bringing more Sumterites to the revitalized downtown area. With its sidewalk seating area and large windows, customers will be able to enjoy the downtown Sumter scenery while they dine. Owners Danielle and Greg Thompson wanted to provide the community with an establishment that reflects trends in the country, such as a growing interest in craft beers and specialty bourbons. Sidebar offers 50 varieties of bourbon, 50 varieties of craft beers and 12 local craft beers on tap, said Danielle Thompson. Aside from the beverages, customers can also enjoy the restaurant’s signature Texas brisket, slow-cooked for 12 hours in a

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smoker generating heat from a 100,000-gallon propane tank called “Big Daddy.” You can’t duplicate this at home on the grill in your backyard, she said. Thompson said the Texas brisket is only sold on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Along with mouth-watering brisket, chicken and ribs will also be cooked on the smoker and served with in-house-made sauces. Sidebar’s decor offers as much character as its menu items. Thompson said the building still has most of its original hardwood flooring and is filled with industrial equipment more than 100 years old from local factories or reclaimed materials that can be seen in the form of decorative wall art and lighting fixtures.

ADDRESS: 30 N. Main St. HOURS: 4  p.m. to close Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m. to close Thursday through Sunday PHONE: (803) 774-4410 WEBSITE:


Since its start in 2000, Baker’s Sweets has grown from a small bakery with two employees into a full restaurant with a total of three locations. Owner Jennifer Baker said she started decorating cakes as a hobby years back while working at a local restaurant. She has since worked to turn that hobby into a business with loyal employees, as well as customers, who have been with the restaurant since the beginning. Baker said her creations come from family recipes, employee suggestions and of course, trial and error. Bakery items include everything from cakes, cookies, cheesecakes and pies to the signature “Nutty Praline” cake. Once the Alice Drive restaurant expanded in 2013 to include a bistro, customers were given an extended menu that includes breakfast omelets and skillets and low-country dishes. Crowd-favorites include shrimp and grits, pecan crusted salad, fried green tomatoes and homemade chicken salad. Baker said the restaurant also offers bistro-to-go items, like chicken pot pie, that customers can purchase frozen and heat up at home. Baker’s Sweets’ can also be found inside Palmetto Health Tuomey, 129 N. Washington St. and at 118 E. Main St. in Lake City.



ADDRESS: 1089 Aice Drive HOURS: 6  a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday PHONE: (803) 775-6016 WEBSITE:


DeMara’s Italian Restaurant has been a family-oriented business ever since it originally opened in 1975. Co-owner Laura Duggan said the restaurant is family oriented for those in front of and behind the counter. She said DeMara’s is truly a family business with her and her brother both working in the restaurant, following in the footsteps of their parents, Ronald and Judy Danella. “That’s what I do and what I prefer,” she said. DeMara’s serves pizza, pasta, subs and salads, all made with family recipes. Customer favorites include the feta marinara with bread, the Godfather sandwich with roast beef, ham, turkey, peperoni, bologna, salami and cheese, and the specialty pizza with an assortment of toppings. Duggan said the restaurant has also added dessert items to the menu with a variety of brownie bars that have become very popular. Customers can enjoy brownies with Rolos, Mr. Goodbar, Heath Bar or Reeses. She said the “Death by Chocolate” cake, made with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, is also a crowd pleaser.

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ADDRESS: 2070 Peach Orchard Road HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. PHONE: (803) 499-4741 WEBSITE: DeMara’s Italian Restaurant on Facebook

LARGEST EMPLOYERS: Becton Dickinson Central Carolina Technical College

sumter at a glance wS  ize of Workforce: 40,741 (Sept. 2015)

City of Sumter Continental Tire Eaton Corporation

wU  nemployment: 6.3% (Nov. 2015)

Pilgrim’s Pride Security Management of S.C. Shaw Air Force Base (U.S. Dept. of Defense) State of South Carolina

wR  etail Sales: $1.75 billion

(July, 2013 – June, 2014, S.C. Dept. of Revenue)

Sumter School District Palmetto Health Tuomey

wP  er Capita Personal Income: $36,077 (2014, S.C.

Thompson Construction Group Sumter County Walmart

Dept. of Revenue)

Marketed by




revitalization of Downtown Sumter

w BY LEIGH NEWMAN Fifteen years into its revitalization, downtown Sumter is growing and expanding at a rapid rate. With new restaurants and retail shops, in addition to the Opera House hosting such notable acts as Doc Severinsen and Lorrie Morgan, the face of downtown is changing, and it’s only going to continue to get better. Jay Davis, President of Coldwell Banker Commercial Cornerstone, is based in downtown Sumter in the historic bank building. “As a property owner here, we made a commitment to downtown a number of years ago,” he said. “We have a vested interest in downtown and, therefore, are very interested in seeing it grow.” The importance of having a viable and thriving downtown is imperative to the growth of Sumter as a whole, according to Davis. “When an out-of-town developer comes to our office, we meet in the 48 |


conference room where the walls are made up of 100-year-old brick, wood trim and glass. Almost every time they leave, they comment that they didn’t realize what a neat place Sumter is. Downtown helps us sell Sumter.” One of this year’s newest downtown merchants is C. Anthony’s Menswear, located in the lower portion of the bank building and owned by Chip Bracalante. C. Anthony’s celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2016 and its one-year anniversary being located in downtown Sumter. Bracalante said he knew the minute he saw the building that he had to relocate. “Sixty feet of windows on the corner of Main and Liberty - probably the most visual corner in town,” he said. His business has grown steadily the last year and he encourages

others to move downtown. “There is no crime, plenty of parking, the restaurant scene is growing, and there is lots of character in these buildings - all things vital to a great retail environment,” Bracalante said. “My advice would be to get to looking for a spot to move your retail store downtown and sooner than later because the buildings will fill up quick.” In addition to C. Anthony’s, the Sidebar restaurant has opened on Main Street, which is an offshoot of the Hamptons Alley Way. Berenyi Incorporated, an engineering, architectural and construction company based in Charleston, has purchased a building on Liberty Street and is currently turning it into its Sumter headquarters. A Main Street streetscape project has improved the aesthetics and walkability of downtown. Several other restaurants are in the works, in addition to prominent local businesses making plans to move downtown. The anticipated Main Street hotel, set to break ground in early Spring 2016, will be a “game changer,” according to Davis and downtown manager Howie Owens. “A hotel is going to be a huge boost for downtown,” says Owens. “Merchants are going to be busier than ever.” By 2025, Jay Davis says he expects downtown to look totally different. “It’s going to be a fun thing to watch,” he said.



elected officials STATE ELECTION COMMISSION 2221 Devine Street, Suite 105 Columbia, SC 29205 Phone: (803) 734-9060 Fax: (803) 734-9366

SUMTER VOTER REGISTRATION AND ELECTION COMMISSION Sumter County Courthouse 141 N. Main St. 1st floor, Room 114 Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 436-2310 Fax: (803) 436-2405 U.S. Representatives FIFTH DISTRICT Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw Lancaster, Lee (part), Newberry, Sumter (part), Union and York counties REP. MICK MULVANEY 1004 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-5501 Fax: (202) 225-0464 Rock Hill 1456 Ebenezer Rd Rock Hill, SC 29732 Phone: (803) 327-1114 Fax: (803) 327-4330 SIXTH DISTRICT Allendale, Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper, Orangeburg, Richland and Williamsburg counties REP. JAMES E. CLYBURN (D) 2135 Rayburn House Office Bldg Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-3315 Fax: (202) 225-2313 1225 Lady St. Ste 200 Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 799-1100 Fax: (803) 799-9060 U.S. Senators SEN. TIM SCOTT 167 Russell Senate Office Bldg Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-6121 Fax: (202) 228-5143 1305 Gervais St. Ste. 825 Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 771-6112 Fax: (803) 771-6455 SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM 290 Russell Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-5972 130 S. Main St., Ste. 700 Greenville, SC 29601 Phone: (864) 250-1417 Fax: (864) 250-4322

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State Offices GOV. NIKKI HALEY Office of the Governor PO Box 12267 Columbia, SC 29211 Phone: (803) 734-2100 Fax: (803) 734-5167 LT. GOV. HENRY MCMASTER State House, 1st Floor P.O. Box 142 Columbia, S.C. 29202 Phone: (803) 734-2080 Fax: (803) 734-2082 State Senate SEN. KEVIN JOHNSON District 36 Calhoun, Clarendon, Florence Lee and Sumter counties P.O. Box 156 Manning, SC 29102 Phone: (803) 435-8117 Fax: (803) 435-0827 502 Gressette Building Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 212-6108 SEN. THOMAS MCELVEEN, III District 35 Lee and Sumter counties P.O. Box 57 Sumter, SC 29151 Phone: (803) 775-1263 Fax: (803) 778-1300 508 Gressette Building Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 212-6132 State House REP. GRADY A. BROWN District 50 Lee and Sumter counties 420 S. Main Street Bishopville, SC 29010 Phone: (803) 484-6832 Fax: (803) 484-6565 304-B Blatt Building Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 734-2934 REP. J. DAVID WEEKS District 51 Sumter County 2 Marlborough Court Sumter, SC 29154 Phone: (803) 775-5856 Fax: (803) 778-1365 330-C Blatt Building Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-3102 REP. ROBERT LEE RIDGEWAY District 64 Florence and Sumter counties 117 North Brooks Street Manning, SC 29102 Phone: (803) 433-0797 Phone: (803) 938-3087 422-A Blatt Building Columbia, SC 29201 803-212-6929

REP. JOSEPH H. NEAL District 70 Richland and Sumter counties P.O. Box 495 Columbia, SC 29202 Phone: (803) 776-0353 Fax: (803) 734-9142 309-B Blatt Building Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-2804 REP. G. MURRELL SMITH District 67 Clarendon and Sumter counties P.O. Box 580 Sumter, SC 29151 Phone: (803) 778-2471 Fax: (803) 778-1643 420 B Blatt Building Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-3042

SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL All Council Members may be reached at the following: 13 E. Canal St. Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 436-2107 Fax: (803) 436-2108

NAOMI SANDERS CHAIRWOMAN District 1 5605 Borden Road Rembert, SC 29128 Phone: 803-499-3947 ARTIE BAKER District 2 3680 Bakersfield Lane Dalzell, SC 29040 Phone: (803) 469-3638 Phone: 803-983-9318 JAMES (JIMMY) BYRD JR. District 3 1084 Broad St. Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 468-1719 Phone: (803) 778-0796 Fax: (803) 775-2726 CHARLES T. EDENS District 4 760 Henderson St. Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 775-0044 Phone: (803) 236-5759 VIVIAN FLEMING-MCGHANEY VICE-CHAIRWOMAN District 5 9770 Lynches River Road Lynchburg, SC 29080 Phone: (803) 437-2797 Phone: (803) 495-3247 JAMES T. MCCAIN District 6 317 W. Bartlette Street Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: 803-773-2353 Phone: 803-607-2777

GENE BATEN District 7 P.O. Box 3193 Sumter, SC 29151 Phone: (803) 773-0815

SUMTER CITY COUNCIL All Council Members may be reached at the following: 21 N. Main St. P.O. Box 1449 Sumter, SC 29151 Phone: (803) 436-2500 Fax: (803) 436-2615 THOMAS J. LOWERY MAYOR PRO TEM Ward 1 829 Legare St. Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 773-9298 IONE DWYER Ward 2 630 Aidan Drive Sumter SC 29150 Phone: 803-481-4284 CALVIN K. HASTIE SR. Ward 3 7 E. Hampton Ave. (W) 810 S. Main St. (H) Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 774-7776 Phone: (803) 464-7337 COLLEEN YATES Ward 4 437 W. Hampton Ave. Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 773-3259 Phone: (803) 945-2350 ROBERT GALIANO Ward 5 608 Antlers Drive Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 469-0005 DAVID P. MERCHANT Ward 6 26 Paisley Park PO Box 309 Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 773-1086 (H) Phone: (803) 481-9931 (W) MAYOR JOSEPH T. MCELVEEN JR. P.O. Box 1449 Sumter, SC 29151 Phone: (803) 775-1263 Phone: (803) 436-2580




Military flight school

Chooses Sumter

w BY SAMMY WAY In November of 1940, the communities of Sumter and Bennettsville were notified by the State Aeronautics Director that they were being considered by the U. S. military to have an Army Air Corps training field located near their city. Each county was extending every effort to obtain one of the training centers. W.A. Thompson, the secretary of the Sumter Chamber of Commerce, noted that the Board of Trade and the city and county of Sumter were making every effort to win this lucrative prize. The Board of Trade had made several trips to Washington for interviews with army authorities In April of 1941, an announcement was made in the Sumter Daily Item, that a “party of engineers was surveying a 3,000-acre tract near Sumter in connection with the possible establishment of an air school.” The land was located approximately 6 miles west of Sumter; the survey was estimated to take three weeks to complete.

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A report of the findings would be sent to the Southeast Air Training Center located at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama, which had requested the survey. In May of 1941, the Item announced that “Sumter, Moultrie, Georgia, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, were selected to receive air schools. The school to be located in Sumter would station 2,622 officers and men at a cost of at $3,300,000. Officials stated that the cadets would take 10 weeks of primary training at Camden, followed by 10 weeks at the basic training center in Sumter and a final 10 weeks at an advanced flying school such as Kelly Field in Texas. The 2,830 acres necessary to house the school initially were often purchased from individual owners. The first recorded check to be issued was paid to Julius Benenhaley for $2,400 for his land and $700 for his growing crop.” This process was repeated a number of times until the necessary property was secured.

Capt. H.G. Gerdes transferred from the Charlotte Air Station and was placed in charge of building the Sumter school. He was the head of the Corps of Engineers stationed in Charlotte and was considered one of its most efficient members. It was noted in the Sumter Daily Item that Gerdes “had distinguished himself as engineer in charge of a tidal hydraulic survey of San Francisco Bay in the course of which he devised new methods and equipment for measuring deep-water currents. He was in charge of designing the Bonneville main spillway dam; he designed and guided construction of the unprecedented 65foot timber crib cofferdam in the Columbia River Gorge; he was an expert witness and technical adviser to the assistant U.S. Attorney General; he was a hydroelectric engineer on the Santee-Cooper project, near Charleston. Gerdes was later transferred to Macon, Georgia, and placed in charge of a $20,000,000 air corps supply depot being replaced by Lt. Col. Emory J. Close. The Shaw project

officer was Major Burton M. Hovey and he was to be assisted by Capt. D.A. Cooper.” According to the Item, the building program scheduled at the new facility included “forty-five barracks, twelve administration buildings, ten day rooms, five mess halls, ten supply rooms, four officers quarters, four warehouses, two recreation buildings, three link trainer buildings, three hangar shop buildings and officers’ mess, chapel, fire station, hospital unit, motor repair shop, telephone building, theater, paint and dope (any of various varnish-like products for coating a fabric, as of airplane wings, in order to strengthen it or make it waterproof) building, control tower, guard house, post exchange, gasoline storage facilities, utility shop, commissary, parachute building, school building, station building, utilities, railroad spur, night lighting system, and paving of runways and aprons.” Dexter Martin, director of the South Carolina Aeronautics



Commission, noted that a large cantonment (military quarters) would be constructed at the new field. He also noted that an “airport within an airport” would be built. “The smaller field would cover about 400 acres and include four 4,000-foot runways, all paved. Each would be 200 feet wide. The “inside” airport would be used for Army transport planes which would fly in equipment and officers. The remainder of the field was sodded to provide an all-way landing area for students in training. Martin said that the army had taken a 99-year lease on the airport and would not turn its back on the municipality when the present emergency was over.” The base was to be named for Lt. Ervin David Shaw of Sumter, who was attached to the 48th Squadron of the R.A.F. and was killed in action over enemy lines July 9, 1918. While flying a reconnaissance mission, his plane encountered three enemy scouts, one of which he downed, but his plane was blown to pieces in the air. Shaw was described as an “athlete with a hearty good humor and a yen for mechanics, and those who knew him pointed out that Ervin Shaw exemplified the spirit

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of the air corps.” Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, construction at Shaw was ordered on a 24-hour basis by the chief engineer’s office in Washington, D. C. Local contractors would make every effort to comply with this demand. All activities at Shaw Field would be secondary to the training of pilots. The first aviation cadet class was scheduled to arrive soon and training was to get underway immediately. An article in The Sumter Daily Item noted that “Christmas Day and New Year’s Day would be observed as holidays at the post, but otherwise the training schedule would continue uninterrupted. Since the training schedule must be maintained at all costs, there were no leaves of absence for officers and enlisted men over the holidays. Officers did not wait for the entire first class to arrive before beginning instruction.” With the completion of the training center and following World War II, a 75-year year relationship continues between Shaw and the Sumter Community. The two entities have remained close over time and have shared in a number of international events.

Mac’s Place









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New sports programs at usc sumter

w BY DENNIS BRUNSON With an ultra-successful baseball program and an established softball program, the University of South Carolina Sumter is adding to its athletic program with men’s and women’s tennis. Both tennis teams begin their inaugural seasons in February. The Fire Ants will play their home matches at Palmetto Tennis Center, one of the top facilities in the Southeast. Sam Kiser, the PTC director of tennis, is the head coach for both teams. “We feel good about the way the programs are developing,” Kiser said. “This year we’re a little thin on the numbers just because we didn’t start recruiting until May. Recruiting is going well for next year though.” Sumter is one of only two schools in Region X of the National Junior College Athletic Association to have both men’s and women’s programs, the other being Spartanburg Methodist College. Kiser said having PTC as the program’s home is obviously a good thing. “The cooperation between USC Sumter and the City of Sumter is helping us,” Kiser said.

This is actually the second time USC Sumter has had a men’s program, but it will be the first go-around for the women. In its initial foray into intercollegiate athletics, USC Sumter had a nationally ranked men’s tennis program. USCS had the program for 10 years, posting a 120-50 record, being nationally ranked three of those seasons. The final year USCS had a men’s tennis team was in 1979. Kiser is actually a product of that program. He played tennis at USC Sumter in 1971-72 under head coach Porter Adams when it was Clemson University at Sumter. USC Sumter went almost 30 years before beginning to field athletic teams again in the 2007-08 school year. The baseball program has been outstanding. It has earned an average of 40-plus wins during its eight years of existence and reached the postseason on several occasions. The Fire Ants advanced to the Junior College World Series for the first time this past season under head coach Tim Medlin. The softball program has not made the postseason in its eight years, but has been a steady performer in Region X under the guidance of head coach Adrienne Cataldo.



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Wildlife go-to spot for hunting, Fishing and Observing

w BY EARLE WOODWARD When it comes to outdoor entertainment, you really have to look far and wide to find a place that’s any better than the Sumter area; there are so many opportunities available it’s hard to list them all! During late fall and winter, hunting season is well underway; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell us that there are a lot of people around here who just live for hunting. All it takes is a look at the back of almost any pickup truck and the story tells itself. Dog boxes, bags of corn, tree stands, duck decoys, camouflaged netting, boots, waders, coolers; it’s all there for everyone to see. We hunt.

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While most local hunters have joined one of the multitudes of hunting clubs, plenty have leased their own smaller tracts or make usage of the thousands of acres of public lands and Wildlife Management Areas run by the state of South Carolina. A 20 minute ride from the center of town can put you on a WMA. Manchester or Oak Lea WMAs come to mind right off the bat and there are a lot of unnamed WMAs, just a few acres each, that dot Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties. There is no excuse for not having a place to hunt. Whether it’s deer, duck, quail, dove, wild hogs or squirrels, there is a place that you can hunt that is available.

Speaking of duck hunting, the upper end of Lake Marion in Sumter County and Clarendon County was a duck Mecca for years; hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese wintered on the Santee National Wildlife Refuge outside of Summerton and on the banks of Lake Marion. In the mornings they would rise from the safety of the refuge and wing their ways upstream into the very upper reaches of the lake and into Sparkleberry Swamp to dine on assorted water plants and acorns. We had a field day. Limits of mallards were the norm. While weather and water conditions have changed and the ducks no longer come this far south in vast numbers, there are still enough around to make a trip into the swamp a worthwhile thing. The wood duck has pretty much taken the place of the mallard as the number one duck taken, and while a bit smaller, they are no less delicious on the table and are even harder to hit than the mallard; they are great sport as well as a great meal. Find the right spot and your limit of three birds can almost be guaranteed. Once spring arrives, a person’s fancy may change from ducks and deer to turkeys and fish. Sumter County is blessed to have some of the best public turkey hunting around. I took my first bird from Manchester WMA and have followed that with several more. Turkeys are plentiful on all of the areas WMAs. Springtime, when the sun begins to warm the earth also brings about some of the best fishing in the Southeast. Beginning in March, the striped bass begins its spawning run up the Santee River system. Pack’s Landing, just outside of Rimini, is perhaps the striper capital of the world. From the landing a fisherman can motor out into the flats and fish more slack water, or they can ride out to the river and fish in more current. I’ve found it to be more of a personal choice during the early part of the striper season, with

the river being tops toward the end of the run in May. The Pack boys, operators of the landing, are probably the most knowledgeable striper fishermen around and will gladly give you a heads up on good fishing areas while they sell you a sack of herring, the striper’s preferred bait. Right on the heels of the striper run, the shellcracker, bass and bream take off, all of which can be found in great numbers in the upper end of the lake. Nothing beats a day on the water with your family while you’re snatching out dinner plate-sized shellcrackers. Until you’ve done it, you can’t understand how much fun it is! If it’s all about family fun, just try a boat ride! I’ve had hours of fun simply riding up and down one of the many area rivers; a picnic lunch and a cooler full of drinks, a swimming stop on a sandbar and fun can be had by all! If a little more distance can be tolerated, Sumter is perfectly positioned for anyone to take advantage of the sporting opportunities at the beach, crabbing, shrimping, fishing for inshore and offshore species, even stuff as easy as gathering a bushel of oysters or basket of clams, at no more than about two hours away! Turn west and trout fishing is yours to be had in a little over an hour. While most of us drive a little farther and fish the trout streams above Clemson, which is about a five hour drive, there are trout stocked into the Lower Saluda River below the Lake Murray dam; consult the Department of Natural Resources trout guide, available online, for access points on the Lower Saluda. Regardless of your sporting preferences, Sumter is positioned to be your “go to” spot, and the great part is that it’s all close by and plenty of it is free of charge! So, grab your hunting or fishing buddy, maybe grab the wife and kids and explore some of our local options, I really don’t think you’ll be sorry!

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Sumter the Gamecock City w BY KEN BELL


Sumter’s nickname is the “Gamecock City.” Newcomers might wonder how the moniker originated and what it means. Sumter—both the city and county—were named for Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War brigadier general. Sumter acquired the nickname “Carolina Gamecock” during the American Revolution for his fierce fighting tactics. After the Battle of Blackstock’s Farm, British General Banastre Tarleton commented that Sumter “fought like a gamecock,” and British General Charles Cornwallis described the gamecock as his “greatest plague.” Today, a memorial to him stands in front of the old courthouse in downtown Sumter. But Sumter has been honored by more than just having a town and county named in his memory. The University of South Carolina’s official nickname is the “Fighting Gamecocks.” Since 1903 the college’s teams have been simply known as the “Gamecocks.” Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was named for him after the War of 1812. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter. And Sumter’s fame is not limited to just South Carolina. Counties in Florida, Georgia and Alabama are also named for him. Sumter was born near Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 14, 1734, and received little formal education. He realized that the military offered him a better opportunity than he could otherwise receive so he enlisted in the Virginia militia. Sumter settled in Stateburg in the High Hills of Santee in the Claremont (later the Sumter) District. He married Mary Jameson in 1767, and together they opened several small businesses and became successful plantation owners, and Sumter raised a local militia group. Sumter led a successful political career following the war. In 1783, 62 |


Sumter was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, but declined to accept. He served several terms in the South Carolina Legislature’s House of Representatives. He also was a delegate to the State convention that ratified the Constitution, which he had opposed. He was elected to the First and Second Congresses (March 4, 1789-March 3, 1793), but was defeated in a reelection bid in 1792. However, Sumter decided to run again as a Democratic Republican and won election to the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Congresses, serving from March 4, 1797 to Dec. 15, 1801, when he resigned. Sumter endeared himself to voters and was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Charles Pinckney. He completed the term and was reelected in 1805, serving until his resignation on Dec. 16, 1810. Sumter decided he was ready to retire from public life and lived on his plantation, South Mount, located near Stateburg, in what is today Sumter County. He died at the age of 97 on June 1, 1832. His family buried him on the grounds at South Mount, known today as the Thomas Sumter Memorial Park, located just off of Highway 261.


Every year on Dec. 12, Americans celebrate National Poinsettia Day. Although the annual recognition isn’t widely well known, the red plant upon which that day is based and the person for whom the plant is named each have roots that dwell deep in South Carolina history. The plant initially came to the U.S. from Mexico almost 200 years ago when South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett distributed the cuttings he received during his service as our nation’s

first Minister to Mexico. Poinsett was born in Charleston in the midst of the American Revolution, but was educated primarily in England, where he became fluent in the English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian languages.

Poinsett studied medicine, military strategy and the law, and hoped to pursue a military career. When his father allegedly dissuaded him from joining the Army, young Poinsett proposed that he travel widely across Europe, an alternative his father supported. For the majority of the next nine years, Poinsett traveled Europe, North America and Canada, visiting notables such as Jacques Necker, former finance minister to Louis XVI of France; Robert Livingston, U.S. Minister to France and negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase; the royal family of Prussia; and Czar Alexander I and his family in Russia. Poinsett later returned to Charleston, but his stay was brief, as on the eve of the War of 1812, President James Madison asked him to visit South America to learn if countries in rebellion from Spain might be agreeable to possibly enjoin treaties with the U.S. Poinsett spent the next five years in South America, and soon after his return home, was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives after friends nominated him. Poinsett became particularly interested in the state’s infrastructural development. Today, travelers across the state enjoy the benefits of decisions made under his leadership. As president of the Board of Public Works for the state, he led efforts to develop a road from Charleston through Columbia and to Greenville and into the mountains of the northwestern corner of the state. His efforts to improve transportation effectively promoted trade from the coast throughout the state. After his second term in the State House, Poinsett ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1820 to 1825. During his third term, he resigned his seat to become the first U.S. Minister to Mexico after his successful nomination to this post by President John Quincy Adams. In Mexico, Poinsett found himself intrigued by a vibrant red shrub

referred to as Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Flower). He lived long enough to see the plant become known as the Poinsettia. Today, it is wildly popular: the Poinsettia is the best-selling potted plant in the U.S. and Canada, with sales of Poinsettias contributing $250 million to the U.S. retail industry annually. Poinsett was at the forefront of discussions that led to the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution, and engaged fellow South Carolinian Robert Mills, a man considered America’s first architect, to develop a layout for what became the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with the grand obelisk monument to George Washington at its center. During the 1830s and throughout the 1840s, Poinsett spent summers at The Homestead, his home outside of Greenville, joining other financially stable residents who traveled from the Lowcountry to the Upcountry. In 1851, after months of failing health, Poinsett left his home in the Lowcountry with an intended destination of The Homestead. But he never reached his destination. He fell ill near Stateburg, where he died and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of the Holy Cross, an Episcopal church located on Highway 261 in Stateburg. His grave marker does not mention his national prominence. Instead, it simply reads, “A pure patriot, an honest man, and a good Christian.” Today, Poinsett State Park located nearby in Sumter County, also bears his name. Annually, Americans honor those who have shaped our national culture. Along with the birthdays of George Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, we also honor the life of Joel Poinsett on Poinsettia Day every Dec. 12—the anniversary of his death.

Developing Sumter’S SucceSS Here are juSt a few of our 2015 HigHligHtS... Southern Business and Development “Best Of ” Awards

Best Small Market Aerospace Locations in SC • Best Contractors for Industrial Projects in SC Best Small Town Manufacturing Workforces in SC • Best Megasites in SC Best Small Town Industrial Sites in SC • Best Places to Hire Veterans in SC

US News ranks Sumter 21st in the top 50 Affordable Places to a buy a retirement home Milken Institute ranks Sumter 5th in 1st year growth/salary




11,623 total number of direct and indirect jobs created 2007-2015 $1,352,875,500 - Capital Investment 2007-2015 $36,077 - per capita income for Sumter- an increase of 44% since 2007

Job Creation + Capital Investment = Per Capita Income Growth Vision + Goals + Leadership + Delivery = Success

Sumter Economic Development | (800) 888-7926 | LIFEISGO O DI NSUMTE R .C O M |


Shaw AFB

Shaw Through The ages

w BY 20TH FIGHTER WING PUBLIC AFFAIRS Since 1941, Shaw Air Force Base – originally Shaw Field – has been home to hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service members. As the Air Force’s largest F-16 combat wing, the mission of the 20th FW is to provide combat-ready airpower and Airmen to meet any challenge, anytime, anywhere. Today Shaw is home to not only the 20th FW, but also U.S. Air Forces Central, with an Area of Responsibility that stretches from the Horn of Africa through the Persian Gulf and into Central Asia; Ninth Air Force; and U.S. Army Central Headquarters, which was relocated

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from Georgia in 2011 and brought approximately 1,200 soldiers with it. The base was named after World War I pilot and Sumter County native 1st Lt. Ervin David Shaw, an unusual move by the War Department as typically the military installation would inherit the name of the nearest town. However, pressure was put upon the War Department by Sumter’s civic leaders and the South Carolina congressional delegation to honor the local fallen warrior. Shaw enlisted in the Army on June 27, 1913, and served at Savannah, Ga., for the first four years of his military career. On April

4, 1918, he was granted an honorable discharge from the Army in order for him to accept a commission as a first lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Service. One of only three Americans assigned to the Royal Air Force’s 48th Squadron, Shaw piloted a Bristol F.2B biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, in which he was able to down two German warplanes before he himself died in aerial combat over France on July 9, 1918. Shaw Field was activated as the home of the Air Corps Basic Flying School to train pilots during World War II, where more than 8,600 pilots were trained in basic and advanced flying courses. Afterwards, they moved on to training in single or multi-engine aircraft.

After the war’s end, Shaw Army Airfield was designated as a permanent Army Air Forces installation. It wasn’t until the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service in 1947, ending a 40-year association with the U.S. Army, that Shaw Field was renamed Shaw Air Force Base. Over the course of roughly 50 years, the base hosted a number of major units. After a reassignment game of musical chairs that spanned decades, and a brief stay at Shaw Field from August 1947 to November 1951, the 20th Fighter Wing would finally call Shaw AFB its permanent home as of Jan. 1, 1994.



Shaw AFB

Shaw Air Force Base

finding my sweet Southern Belle

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w BY AIRMAN SEAN SWEENEY On the day a new Airman receives his first duty assignment, he is usually filled with several different emotions. Fear, excitement, uncertainty, hope and unfortunately often times there are bits of sadness as well. After checking multiple times a day for weeks on end, that day will finally arrive when the assignment comes and one of these emotions will be pushed to the forefront of your mental being. Shaw Air Force Base … South Carolina. This was the base assigned to a fresh young Airman basic from the Empire State known as New York. On that day it was sadness which filled the Airman’s heart. Preparing to trade in the big cities and bitter cold winters for a small country town whose military presence is nearly equal to its civilian population – well, at least in his eyes – this Airman was more than disappointed. Without taking time to consider any positives of a southern location, he immediately began looking for someone, anyone, to trade assignments. Luckily for him, no one was willing. As time went on he slowly began to accept the fact that South Carolina was his fate. Not the one he chose, but the one the Air Force chose; the one where he would soon have all of his expectations blown away. For it was at this location that he stepped out of his vehicle, observed the environment, and took in a deep breath of fresh Carolina air. The

freshness was something that had seemed scarce in his northern kingdom. Blue skies, a warm 64 degrees with a slight breeze, and a smile on everyone’s face who issued a pleasant “hello” as they passed by. What was this foreign land? Clearly this can’t be the same base he had heard of? The base where, when his training instructors asked what his first duty location was, they offered condolences. No. This couldn’t possibly be the same place … but it was. Days went by and the young Airman quickly began to see the silver lining. This lining was represented by the bright community that welcomed him with open arms. A community that thanked him for his service and sacrifice to his country. A community where no one hesitated to lend a helping hand to a neighbor who needed it. A community that seemed to have uncommon patriotism. Shaw Air Force Base … South Carolina. Except this time these words were read with a smile and a feeling of joy. These were the words spoken when the young Airman was asked about his first duty location. The words he uses to tell people where fate had landed him, and where he now calls home.



Account openings and credit are subject to Bank approval. Member FDIC. m 32 E. Calhoun Street Sumter, SC 29150 T 803.775.1231 F 803.775.0915

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