The Edisto Clemson Club’s winter meeting was a night of excitement, fun and helping those in need.
This was not your normal meeting. This was a family event with the children as well as adults celebrating the Tigers’ success on the field, in the classroom and in life. In attendance was former Tiger head football coach Danny Ford, The Tiger and ClemsonLIFE graduate and football team manager David Saville.
As the children played and took pictures with The Tiger, the adults spent time reminiscing with Clemson’s only national championship-winning head football coach.
In an interview, Ford said he does not see the Tigers slowing down under current head coach Dabo Swinney.
“I think that he’s (Dabo Swinney) just getting started,” Ford said. “You know, he’s built things the right way, done things the right way, and when you do things the right way, you have success. He’s embraced the past better than any other head coach has, but he’s still got a vision for the future. I don’t see any reason to think this year’s team won’t be in the hunt again.”
The highlight of the night, however, was not the former head coach. It was with Saville.
A 24-year-old graduate of the ClemsonLIFE (Learning is for Everyone) program and one of 17 football student equipment managers, Saville has Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It’s estimated that the condition occurs in one out of every 691 live births in America today. However, for anyone who has had the opportunity to meet this young man, it is clear to see he is anything but disabled.
Saville is an inspiration. Quickly rising to Internet dance superstar for his postgame locker room victory dances and serving as an inspiration to the football players, Saville has seized upon the opportunities afforded him by the ClemsonLIFE program.
ClemsonLIFE was created to provide a coordinated course of study that includes career exploration and preparation along with self-awareness, discovery and personal improvement through a framework of courses, job internships and community participation for students with intellectual disabilities who desire a post-secondary experience on a college campus.
The Edisto Clemson Club also presented the first annual Spirit of the Tiger Award to Jimmy Evans’ widow Traci.
Jimmy, a graduate of Clemson in 1985 with a bachelor of science in building science and management, joined Amco Construction following his graduation and began as a project manager. After his father retired, Jimmy took over the operations and was named president of Amco Construction.
Jimmy served as chairman of the board of directors for the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association, a director on the board of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, a director on the board of Orangeburg Preparatory School and a board member of the IPTAY Solid Orange Fan Advisory Committee.
He died Jan. 24 at his home and is survived by his wife Traci and their two children, Averi and Ella.
In total from ticket sales and the silent auction, the club will be able to provide a $1,000 scholarship to one student attending Clemson University as a freshman in the fall of 2016. The student will be from Orangeburg, Bamberg or Calhoun counties.
Also, following a vote of the board at the next meeting, a donation will be made to the ClemsonLIFE program for 2016.
The next event for the Edisto Clemson Club is the annual golf tournament to be held at the Orangeburg Country Club on May 16. The tournament’s format will be a four-man captain’s choice. If interested in entering a team or for more information, contact Josh Fort at 803-515-4735 or via email at email@example.com.