Lovell Brothers is a warm, friendly person who says she works to maintain integrity and an unbiased attitude in her interactions with everyone in her professional and personal life.
Brothers has served in various capacities at the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office since 1997, having worked under three sheriffs and three county administrators.
She started out as an administrative assistant under former sheriff James “Poppa” Johnson before working as an administrative assistant and business manager under the late sheriff Larry Williams. Brothers is now firmly established as the office’s business manager under Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.
“I was delighted with the opportunity to be able to stay and help him as well. I handle his budget, do most of all his purchasing, plan his travels and work with grants,” she noted. “I’m involved in just about anything that deals with the finances.”
The 63-year-old is also involved in making sure that money is delegated with appropriate fidelity among the office’s nine departments. It is a duty she takes seriously.
“When you think about the sheriff’s budget, we are limited with what we have to spend so I have to make sure this money is equally given to each of the nine divisions that I’m responsible for. Over the course of the years that I have worked the sheriff’s budget and delegated the funds out appropriately to all divisions, I have not had any problems with any of them feeling that they were mistreated or done unfairly,” Brothers said.
It is her commitment to treating others free of bias, dishonesty or injustice that has earned Brothers the designation as the exemplification of fairness as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.
“I was surprised and humbled by the honor. I come to work really with my mind on getting the job done and doing the best that I can. I really don’t look for any accolades in my line of work, and I guess it’s because I was raised in a Christian home, where my mother said, ‘God will always bless you for doing things that are right and wonderful in your life,’” she said.
The honoree said she often puts others before herself, even when the office equipment doesn’t always work the way it should.
“I was having problems with my copier a few weeks ago, and one of the majors said, ‘Well, you’re the woman with the money so buy a machine.’ But before buying myself one, I would think about getting one for somebody else who needs it just a little bit more. I’m the same way with my family. I do for others ahead of myself because I just feel that I can wait,” Brothers said.
One of 12 children, she said her mother, Clotell, and her father, Robert, were loving parents who didn’t always give their kids what they wanted, but always provided their needs.
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“My mother taught me to stay positive. I always remembered she’d say, ‘Don’t consider yourself better than any other person, but always know that you are as good as the other person,’” she said.
Brothers said when she thinks about the words “fairness” and “character,” “I realize I have to stay focused on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it because I realize that I’m not going to meet the same person every day; I really want to be a good example.”
She said she uses the power of prayer in her personal and professional life so she will be more equipped to exercise fairness.
“It’s difficult sometimes, but every day that I walk out of my home, I ask God to help me use my tongue, eyes and mind in a way that will be pleasing in his sight. Not only is it difficult in the workplace, but it’s difficult in the church and even in your family,” Brothers said.
She and her husband, James, have four children between them and are the proud grandparents of 11.
“We have a lovely family. When it’s time for birthdays, I send something for everyone’s birthday. At Christmas, I don’t do as much for the grown people because they’ve gotten so many children, but I try to do for all the grandchildren. My husband and I try to equal it out with the children,” she said, noting that fairness extends far beyond her workplace.
Along with her parents, Brothers credits the support she has received from her beloved mentor, Dr. Verdis W. McMichael, for shaping her attitude.
“She took me right under her wings and trained me to be a good Sunday School teacher and just worked with me. She and my mother are two of the best mentors in my life. Dr. McMichael is a retired administrator and school teacher from Washington, D.C. My mother was just a third-grade learner, but she had so much wisdom and understanding that she spread among all her children,” she said.
Brothers is a member of Hickory Hill Baptist Church in Neeses, where she serves as church clerk and works with the pastor’s aid committee. She has also served as chairperson of the Orangeburg County Pack, a character-building program for county employees, since its 2006 inception.
“As part of the Pack, we really believe that good character paves the way for your life being successful. Those 24 Pack members are just absolutely wonderful,” Brothers said. “We have our good and bad days, but we do not leave anywhere unless we’re unified and working together, which is great,” she said.
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