Nominations for Bamberg County Citizen of the Year
Written by Mallory D. Biering   

On Thursday, October 18th at 6:00 pm, the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce will host its 46th Annual Banquet at the Govan Fire Department on Ehrhardt Road in Govan. Mr. Howard Brubaker, the keynote speaker, and a member of the county since 1973, will speak on the economic impact the Mennonite Community has had on the county, followed by the presentation of the Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year and other awards. This year, there are only three citizens who have been nominated for the Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year and include: Judge Nancy H. Green, Jerry Earl Halmon, and Harvey Irwin Kling.

Green has served Bamberg County with dedication and distinction as its Probate Judge for 28 years. Green is a native to Bamberg County and has reared two sons in Bamberg, one of whom is our Chief Magistrate, Craig Threatt, and the other a dedicated employee at Delavan, Chris Threatt. Green has always gone the extra mile to reach out to help citizens in her role as Probate Judge and is a faithful member of Trinity United Methodist Church. Green is an example of what's right with our county.

Another candidate, Halmon, a native of Bamberg, is a 1970 graduate of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. He attended South Carolina State College on a football scholarship. In 1975, he received his BS Degree from SC State in Secondary School Guidance. In 1982, he received his Masters Degree from SC State in Elementary School Guidance. From 1976-1978, he served as Assistant Dean of Men and a counselor at Denmark Technical College.

From 1978-2008, Jerry was employed by Bamberg School District One as a counselor first at Richard Carroll Junior High School, and then at Bamberg- Ehrhardt Middle School. Also in District One, Halmon served in the following capacities: football and basketball coach for 12-years, Adult Education Director, JTPA Summer Program Director, and worked with Mr. Charles Johnson in Denmark-Olar School District 2 as a Counselor in the district's award winning Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

He and wife Pamela, also implemented a teen "Peer Helping Program," at Richard Carroll Junior High School and then at Bamberg-Ehrhardt Middle School, that sought to teach kids how to help each other work through their problems and participated in a number of community service projects over the years. Before his retirement from the district, Halmon worked with Mrs. Willie Cam Nimmons and former County Councilman William H. Nimmons in starting a mentoring program for middle school boys in Bamberg and Denmark called, "The Gentlemen's Club."

Since 2005, starting out part-time, Halmon has been employed by The Advertizer-Herald Publishing Company in Bamberg as a staff reporter and sports editor. During his tenure as sports editor, the paper has twice received awards at the annual Trib Publication's summer news seminar in Warms Springs, Georgia for its sports reporting.

Halmon is a member of the Thankful Baptist Church in Bamberg, where he is a member of the trustee board and has served as superintendent of Sunday School and Adult Sunday School teacher. He is a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner. He is a member of the Mu Upsilon Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., in Denmark, and was named Omega Man of the Year in 1992 by the chapter.

He and his wife, the former Pamela Haste of Annapolis, Maryland, are the parents of four children: Anthony, Georgina, Jacob, and Nicholas.

The final nominee for the Citizen of the Year award would be Kling, who in 1989, along with his wife Mary Lou, relocated to Bamberg from Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after moving here, he was approached by someone that was very concerned about the Bamberg Chapter of the American Red Cross becoming nonexistent, being that there were only three board members and one was soon to resign. At the age of 69, Kling decided to take upon himself the task of reorganizing and revamping the Bamberg Chapter of the American Red Cross. Twenty-two years later, at the age of 91, Kling is still in charge of the Bamberg Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Kling said the American Red Cross held a special place in his heart, and felt they were very good to him during World War II, when he was able to save a man's life with their help and was awarded a 'Bronze Medal'. After the war was over, he was sent to Japan to help the Japanese and six months later with the help of the American Red Cross, he was finally able to return to the United States.

The American Red Cross saves lives with the proper training for CPR, swimming instruction, and many other life saving procedures, along with organizing blood drives. They also assist those in need when disasters, such as fires or hurricanes, occur by supplying clothes, food and shelter.

Had it not been for Kling's passion and dedication, there is no wonder what Bamberg County would be like today, if the Bamberg Chapter of the American Red Cross was nonexistent, an organization very important to the citizens of the county.

Kling is a member of Bamberg Trinity United Methodist Church and an active member of the "Men's Club," which supports the Cheeze and Cracker Box.