The Rotary Club of Orangeburg held its 20th annual “Service Above Self” awards banquet Thursday evening to recognize area law enforcement officers and name the club’s Rotarian of the Year.
Representatives from the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol were on hand to honor three officers for their service.
Service Above Self award recipients were ODPS Staff Sgt. Arney L. Lucas, OCSO Deputy Kendrick McCullum and S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Lewis M. Metts.
ODPS Staff Sgt. Arney L. Lucas
Of Lucas, ODPS Chief Mike Adams said, “I’ve seen this gentleman get in the middle of a lot of situations that would have other people in knots.”
“He’s quick to tell me, ‘Chief, it’s what I do,’” Adams added.
Lucas joined the department in November 1994 as a field training officer training new S.C. Criminal Justice Academy graduates. He is a member of the special response team, a firearms instructor, bike instructor and hostage negotiator.
Adams cited Lucas’ work to provide bicycles for community members.
“During the course of the year, he solicits and procures new and used bicycles from various organizations,” he said. “After making any necessary repairs to the bikes, they are provided to community members through our Working for Wheels program or donated as Christmas gifts.”
Adams said Lucas has procured hundreds of new bicycles and repaired hundreds of old bicycles.
“Staff Sgt. Lucas’ compassion to assist the life and day of others is one of the key reasons he’s deserving to be recognized as the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety’s Service Above Self recipient,” the ODPS chief said.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Lucas said, adding he is “thankful for the opportunity to do this.”
He said the department is a good place to work as he is surrounded by plenty of like-minded individuals.
OCSO Deputy Kendrick McCullum
McCullum, a 15-year law enforcement veteran, has been with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office for six months.
When he was first hired, McCullum served as the school resource officer for Howard Middle School until going to Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School as SRO.
“He helped young people learn ... ,” Capt. James Green said. “His curriculum is how to legitimately have a shot at reaching the stars.”
McCullum ran a program called Boys to Men as a way to mentor young men and encourage them to develop skills needed to be successful in life, such as introducing themselves and how to present themselves during a job interview.
“The sixth through eighth graders were introduced -- some for the first time -- to how to tie a neck tie. Windsor is no longer simply a castle in England to these teens,” Green said, referring to the Windsor necktie knot.
At the end of the program, the students were given an opportunity to go to a job fair and to speak.
“The top five kids that showed the potential this early were given one more step, one more opportunity,” Green said. “They were given a chance to interview for a real summer job.”
He noted that each of the students was able to land those jobs.
“Five students are now employed for the summer because of McCullum and his introduction of Boys to Men,” he said.
When he found out about his award, McCullum said, “It was really exciting.”
“It was definitely unexpected and one of those things that make going to work worthwhile,” he added. “It’s what I set out to accomplish from the beginning.”
SCHP Trooper Lewis M. Metts
Capt. A.K. Grice described Metts' composure during a recent case involving a Craigslist meeting at a Calhoun County gas station.
“The incident went bad; one of them pulled out a gun and shot the subject in the head,” Grice said.
In October 2016, Grice said Metts was in the right place at the right time. He followed the suspect's vehicle into Lexington County, where they later discovered the victim.
“Trooper Metts was calm throughout the incident. He followed common sense and sound training practices,” Grice said.
He added that the award was “for his professional handling of dangerous situations without causing any escalation into a potentially violent confrontation.”
In response to receiving the award, Metts said simply, “I’m just thankful.”
Rotarian of the Year
The Rotary Club also recognized Henry Miller as the Rotarian of the Year.
Club President-Elect Ralph Faulling read a statement from last year’s Rotarian of the Year, Brenda Williams, who could not be at the banquet, about Miller.
“His qualities of leadership, integrity, dedication, humility, caring for others and service would enable him to be a great Rotarian,” Williams wrote. “In his short tenure as a Rotarian, he has excelled because he is a team player, a hard worker, a person who always says yes and will make it happen."
Miller has been a member of the Rotary Club for four years and has been employed for more than 30 years at the Regional Medical Center.
He began washing dishes and mopping floors until he was promoted through the ranks to associate director of food and nutrition at RMC and then to director of environmental services.
“Henry’s contributions to RMC are immeasurable,” Williams wrote.
David Staten, outgoing president of the Rotary Club, said, “I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving of that award.”
“Henry epitomizes the spirit of being a Rotarian,” Staten added.
“They put me on the fast track,” said Miller, who is the outgoing club secretary and has been installed as the president-elect for the 2017-2018 year.
“I did not know I would get right in this fast,” Miller said. “It’s wonderful.”
Also attended the banquet was state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who presented a House resolution honoring Wayne Murphy.
“This is to congratulate Wayne Murphy, owner of HavenConnections, doing business as Chick-fil-A in Orangeburg, for being named the 2017 Veteran Small Business Person of the Year,” Cobb-Hunter said. “This is an official bill that is in the history of South Carolina legislation.”
She added that Murphy doesn’t preach a sermon, “he lives one.”
“We all live in Orangeburg County and we hear a whole lot about Orangeburg. We don’t hear a lot of the positive,” Cobb-Hunter said. “We certainly don’t hear a lot about business people in the county who give back to Orangeburg County the way you have done.”