Saturday, February 27, 2010

Black PRESENT history

Greenwood County Councilwoman Edith Childs, left, stands with then Sen. Barack Obama during his presidential campaign tour
Many have paved the way for the future. Many were firsts. But a true celebration of Black History Month isn’t relegated to just the past.
Here are 10 of the more influential black people in the Lakelands:

Name: Gonza Bryant
- What He Does: Greenwood County Council member.
- What He’s About: Bryant is the longest tenured current Greenwood County Council member, at more than 20 years. He is employed by Self Regional Healthcare.
Name: Edith Childs
- What She Does: Greenwood County Council member.
- What She’s About: Childs has served on county council for numerous years and previously was on the District 50 board of trustees. She participates in numerous charitable efforts and has drawn public praise from President Barack Obama.
- What They’re Saying: "Edith Childs is a pillar of the community,” Greenwood County Council vice-chairman Bob Jennings said. "Constituent service and community service are very near and dear to her heart. That is evident when you look at all the agencies she works with. In watching her and working with her, it is quite evident that she is really out there working for the people in her district and in this county.”

Name: Floyd Nicholson
- What He Does: District 10 state senator.
- What He’s About: Nicholson was the mayor of Greenwood for many years and was elected to the state senate in 2008. He is employed by Lander University.

- What They’re Saying: "I think Floyd is doing a great job as a senator,” District 4 state Sen. Billy O’Dell said. "He’s willing to listen. He knows that he is in a new job and he is learning. He’s been very responsive when I’ve advised him. We don’t agree on everything, but we are not supposed to.”

Name: Anne Parks
- What She Does: District 12 state representative.
- What She’s About: Parks has been a representative in District 12 for a number of years and previously was a Greenwood City Councilwoman.
- What They’re Saying: "I have the utmost respect for Representative Anne Parks,” state Rep. Gene Pinson said. "I have known Anne and dealt with her for probably 30-plus years. She is always accessible and courteous and kind and treats everyone with respect. I couldn’t have a better seatmate (in the House) than Anne Parks.”

Name: Michael Gaskin
- What He Does: Director of First Steps in Greenwood County.
- What He’s About: Aside from directing First Steps, Gaskin was in the Air Force for 21 years and is pursuing his doctorate in business administration. He also is the 1st vice-chairman of the Greenwood County Democratic Party.
- What They’re Saying: "Michael has been a tremendous help as our 1st vice-chairman,” Greenwood County Democratic Party Chairwoman Elaine Gentry said. "He is very interested in education for young people and helping in their development early on. He is extremely personable, and I find it really easy to work with him and talk with him.”

Name: The Rev. Ricky Syndab
- What He Does: Pastor of Morris Chapel Baptist Church.
- What He’s About: Syndab is the leader of perhaps Greenwood’s most influential predominantly black church. The congregation at Morris Chapel includes Greenwood County Council members Edith Childs and Gonza Bryant, Greenwood City Councilwomen Betty Boles and Linda Edwards and S.C. Rep Anne Parks, among others.
- What They’re Saying: "Pastor Syndab is a leader in our community,” Greenwood Metropolitan District Commissioner Byron Smith said. "He not only sees the needs of Morris Chapel, but he sees the needs of the surrounding area. He provides guidance that helps influence the entire community. Not just the black community, but Greenwood County as a whole.”

Name: Charles Goodwin
- What He Does: Abbeville County Sheriff.
- What He’s About: Fairness, leading by example, family and faith.
- What They’re Saying: "He doesn’t really see color,” Chief Deputy Marion Johnson said. "I’ve worked with him almost every day for the past 27 years and � day in and day out - he treats all employees the same regardless of their race.”

Name: Dr. Joseph D. Patton, III
- What He Does: CEO of the GLEAMNS Human Resource Commission.
- What He’s About: To Patton, being a leader is more than just standing out in a group of people and taking them where they want to go. "A leader is a person that can get in front of a group of people and take them to heights they didn’t know they could achieve,” Patton said. "That is what I live by.” That’s what he set out on doing with GLEAMNS. He said he wanted to create an institution that would help both the Greenwood community and the local economy, all to inspire a "community conscience.”
- What They’re Saying: Deputy Director Ron Davis said Patton motivates the staff and community. "He’s a visionary and he has brought a lot of stuff to the community, especially the Brewer Community Complex,” Davis said.

Name: Dr. Darrell Johnson
- What He Does: Superintendent for District 50.
- What He’s About: Since taking the position in 2006, Johnson has placed a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. In the last few years alone, 2009’s graduating class earned nearly $7 million in scholarship funding, curriculum has expanded with the ACTS and Montessori programs and performance on state and national assessments have improved, all under Johnson’s watch.
- What They’re Saying: District 50 Community Services Coordinator Jonathan Graves said Johnson brings a face to the district. "When you see him you immediately associate him with District 50,” he said. "He has strong leadership. He’s really the type of guy where when he says he’s going to do something, you know he’s going to get it done.”

Name: Maj. Phillip Anderson
- What He Does: Greenwood County Detention Center Director.
- What He’s About: Anderson has spent his entire career in law enforcement, including 20 years with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, five of which have been spent as director of the detention center. Anderson said he views his job as a commitment to the community, and stressed corrections is not all about locking people up, but helping them recognize their deficiencies and become better citizens.
- What They’re Saying: "I started working with Phillip back when he was a deputy and he has risen through the ranks and is now in charge of the detention center. I think he’s a great guy with much professionalism. ... Believe me, his hands are full dealing with problems with the inmates back there. ... Phillip is a people person, He’s a very caring person. He’s not going to mistreat anyone. He’s a great guy,” Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis said.

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