Citizen of the Year nominees announced
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

Three distinguished citizens of Bamberg County have been nominated for the 2012 Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year Award to be presented at the 47th Annual Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce Banquet. The banquet’s theme is, “Looking back, but moving forward.” The banquet will be held on Thursday, October 17, at 6:00pm. The location has not been determined at this time and will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of one featured speaker, organizers say they anticipate having several speakers from various parts of the county speak about how things were in the county when they were growing up and how things have changed. It is anticipated that representatives from various businesses and industry in the county will also speak.

Along with the presentation of the 2012 Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year Award, awards, the 2012 Evelyn McMillan Chamber Volunteer and the 2012 Emma Ruth Dowling Unity Award winner will be presented. The nominees for the 2012 Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year Award are: Willie B. Caldwell Jr., Harvey Kling and Dr. Danette McAlhaney. (Note: Anyone in Bamberg County was eligible to be nominated as COTY. The winner of the award is determined by the vote of previous COTY winners.)

In nominating Willie B. Caldwell Jr. for the 2012 Bamberg COTY it was noted that he is an alumnus of Denmark Technical College (DTC). He is active in the Bamberg-Hampton Alumni Chapter of DTC and is instrumental in presenting its charity golf classic each year. The golf tournament has provided financial support for students at DTC. The planters gracing the street corners in the City of Denmark are the gift to the city from Caldwell and his wife. For several years he has voluntarily planted the boxes. Twice a year he buys and plants flowers, and then cares for them to enhance the downtown area. It was noted that this year’s, “lush petunias and sweet potato vines are especially beautiful.” Caldwell is a veteran who is active in the Eden Baptist Church of Bamberg.

In receiving her nomination for the 2012 Bamberg COTY it was noted that Dr. Danette McAlhaney manages to teach a Sunday and Wednesday night class at the Bamberg First Baptist Church and spend time with her husband and two children. For the last two years Dr. McAlhaney has worked “day and night” trying to keep the Bamberg County Memorial Hospital open. Since the hospital closed Dr. McAlhaney has been busy in meetings trying to secure some type of emergency hospital for the people of Bamberg County. Dr. McAlhaney did all of this while still providing health care for her patients in her office in Bamberg.

The third and final nominee for the 2012 Bamberg COTY is Harvey Kling. In nominating Kling for the COTY award it was noted that 22-years ago Kling was asked to help reorganize the Bamberg County Red Cross. The organization was down to two members and about to lose its’ charter. Reluctant at first, Kling a distinguished WWII Veteran, took up the cause of resurrecting the Bamberg County Red Cross Chapter, because of what the organization did for him during his time in the service. Kling secured the help of the late S.C. Representative Thomas Rhoad and his wife and some local doctors and before long the organization had 22 board members. The Bamberg County Chapter of the Red Cross is still going strong with “many volunteers” and two Junior Red Cross Chapters in the county. Recently Kling took the students in the Bamberg-Ehrhardt Chapter to the State House in Columbia, where they “were thrilled” to meet Bamberg native and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Tickets for the 47th Annual Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce Banquet to be held on Thursday, October 17, at 6:00pm are $25 each and may be purchased from the chamber during regular business hours, by phone at 245-4427.