By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon County Farm-City Week annual luncheon and awards ceremony was held recently at the City of Dillon Wellness Center.
The program started with a welcome by Carol Edwards followed by the pledge of allegiance led by Mathew Edwards and Nathan Hyler. Carol Edwards then gave the invocation.
After the initial opening, those in attendance were invited to enjoy lunch.
Cullen Bryant introduced Keith Cox, Associate State Director of Instruction, Agriculture Education, SC FFA (Future Farmers Of America).
Cox said the FFA of today is “not your father’s FFA.” He said females make up 40 percent of FFA members nationally. He noted that all of the current state officers are female Cox then introduced the guest speaker for the luncheon Anna Mink, FFA State President.
Mink’s topic was “Who I Wear The Jacket For.” She said she wore the jacket for the members, for agriculture, for her family, for her teammates, for future generations, and for all in attendance. She said she believed in the future of agriculture and the ability of agriculture to meet the needs. She said she and her fellow officers had 365 days to make a difference and an impact.
After Mink’s speech, the awards were presented by Ronald Bracey, president of the Dillon Kiwanis Club.
The Farmer of the Year was Floyd Johnson, Jr. He has been a farmer since 1967 and currently farms approximately 2,500 acres where he grows soybeans, corn, wheat, and grain sorghum. He farmed tobacco through 1986. Johnson is a member of Union Baptist Church, a 40 year member of Acacia Lodge No. 169, and a member of Little Pee Dee Shrine Club.
The Business Person of the Year was Kevin T. Thomas, who was not able to attend. He is the founder/owner of House Of Thomas Funeral Home in DIllon. Thomas is a licensed funeral director and embalmer for the states of South and North Carolina. Thomas is the past chairman of the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, past chairman of McLeod Medical Center Dillon Hospital Advisory Board, Chaplain for the South Carolina Morticians Association, President of the Dillon Rotary Club, a Dillon County Theatre board member, and a member of Florence Christian Center Church.
The Farm-City Week Outstanding Students were:
—Darryl Miller of Dillon High School: Miller, a senior at Dillon High School, has been an active student having been a part of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Key Club (where he now serves as president), and the Varsity Tennis Team. He is involved in the community helping at school, church, and the recreation department. Miller plans to attend Francis Marion University and pursue a degree in nursing.
—Allette Habonimana of Dillon County Technology Center: Habonimana, a senior at Dillon High School, is a Health Occupations student at the Dillon County Technology Center. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has a GPA of 4.0. She has strong academic and work ethics. She attends Outreach Family Fellowship Church and is the youth choir director. She plans to attend Francis Marion University and major in nursing.
—Morgan Elizabeth Herlong of Lake View High School: Herlong, a senior at Lake View High School, is active in numerous activities at school including LVHS Student Body President, Senior Beta Club President, Gator TV morning news anchor, FFA President, International Club Treasurer, Leo Club, Media Club, Principal’s Council, Senior Prom Committee, Varsity Softball Captain, and Varsity Volleyball Captain. She was the 2013 Chief Junior Marshal and was named 2013 Homecoming Queen. She plays showcase softball for the South Carolina Bandits and participates in Marion Presbyterian Youth activities. She plans to attend North Greenville College and major in biology. She has also committed to play softball for the Lady Crusaders.
—Dallas Gardner of Latta High School: Gardner is the chapter president of the Latta High School FFA Chapter, where she has been a member for four years. She has been a varsity cheerleader for three years and is the captain of the 2013-2014 LHS cheerleading squad. She is on the yearbook staff. Gardner is a member of Catfish Creek Baptist Church. She plans to attend the University of South Carolina and major in cardiovascular technology.
—Emilee Elizabeth Evans of Dillon Christian School: Evans, a senior at Dillon Christian School, participates in cheerleading and volleyball and is a member of the DCS SCISA Music Festival Ensemble. She is a member of the Senior Beta Club, the Anchor Club, Class President, and Student Body Class Representative. She is a member of Hyde Park Baptist Church, Lumberton, NC and is involved in church activities. She plans to attend Clemson University or Campbell University and major in pharmacy.
Prior to the luncheon, several participants went on a tour to the Ellis Performing Arts Center in Latta, Lake View High School, and Dillon County Technology Center.
By Betsy Finklea