By Betsy Finklea
Photos by Johnnie Daniels
The Dillon County Farm-City Week awards have been presented.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour and meal did not take place, but award winners were still chosen. Jon Wagner, president of the Dillon Kiwanis Club, presented the awards Johnnie Luehrs of of the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce assisted. Award winners were selected by an independent committee.
FARMER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Stephens of Lake View was named the Farmer of the Year. Stephens, a 2004 graduate of Lake View High School, grew up in farming and loved it since he was a small child. He grows corn, wheat, and soybeans. He individually farms 700 acres and helps his grandfather, Danny Nance, with his 2,000 acres. His wife, Sarah, is a nurse practitioner. Stephens is a previous winner of this award.
INDUSTRIALIST OF THE YEAR
Tommy Wallace, President and Owner of Diversified Plastics, Inc. in Latta, was named the Industrialist of the Year.
“Since 1976, Diversified Plastics, Inc. has been a leading international rotational molding manufacturer that offers a complete assortment of durable, high quality plastic material handling carts, heavy-duty utility carts, and industrial plastic products for virtually any application. DPI produces commercial trash dumpsters, recycling containers, and plastic forkliftable bulk containers, as well as commercial laundry bins and bulk storage bins,” according to their website. In addition to the Latta location, they also have recently added a location in Georgia.
Wallace said they are “happy and have been blessed to be here for 44 years.” He said there have been many changes and some “ups and downs,” but the key to their success has been putting together a good leadership team and a good team of employees.
He said Dillon County has been good to them, and due to this, they have been able to grow their business to 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space and sell their products throughout the United States and overseas.
They have been able to continue their success by reinvesting and keeping their equipment up to date through the help of local banks, which has helped them put out a good product.
BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
Conner Bracey was named the Business Person of the Year. Bracey has been a businessman in Dillon County for 34 years. He opened JABS Fireworks in 1986. They sell retail fireworks. They have two locations at Exit 193 and one location at Exit 181A in Latta.
He is currently building a new 18,000 sq.ft. building at 1101 Radford Boulevard, Dillon, which he hopes will open in April 2021.
Bracey also sold some land to bring a “gas-and-go” truck stop next door to JABS.
Several outstanding student awards were presented to students at various schools. Here are the articles submitted about each student:
Hunter Ryan Godbolt is a senior at Dillon High School and a third-year student at Dillon County Technology Center. Hunter is a dual enrollment student with Northeastern Technical College, and he will graduate with an Associate’s in Science through NETC in the spring of 2021. He has been accepted at Coker College, Francis Marion University, Coastal University and Gardner Webb. Hunter is a member of the National Honor Society, Academic Challenge tam, Beta Club and DECA. His hobbies include gaming, reading, and solving challenging math problems. Pictured is Jon Wagner, President of the Kiwanis Club, presenting the award to Hunter Ryan Godbolt. (Photo by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald)
Avery Hewitt is a senior at Dillon High School. Avery is a dedicated student and hard worker. After high school, he will be attending Campbell University. Avery is in the top five percent of his class and is a member of the football team and Key Club. Pictured is Jon Wagner, President of the Kiwanis Club, presenting the award to Avery Hewitt. (Photo by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald)
Max Edwards is the son of George and Carol Edwards from Gaddy’s Mill. Max is a senior at Lake View High School and will be going into the work force upon graduation. Max works for Dusty Williams at Darden Farms and plans to continue his passion for hard work and the land for many years to come. Max is a member of Lake View Baptist Church and the Lake View Baptist Youth Group. Max is a 4th year FFA member and has competed in many FFA contests. Along with being an active FFA member, Max is a past chapter FFA vice-president and current chapter FFA President. Pictured are Pictured are Jon Wagner, President of the Kiwanis Club, Brad Sawyer of the Kiwanis Club, and Johnnie Luehrs of the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce presenting the award to Max Edwards. (Photo by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald)
Taylor Arnette is a senior at Latta High School. Taylor is active in the agricultural education program at Latta High school where she has taken Agricultural Science, Forestry, and Agricultural Leadership. She currently serves as the Latta FFA Chapter president where her leadership strengths shine. Taylor demonstrates leadership in her studies, serving on The Shall Go (Latta school newspaper) staff and the Dillon County 4-H Shooting Sports Club. She plans to further her education by pursuing a degree in nursing at Clemson University. Pictured are Jon Wagner, President of the Kiwanis Club, Brad Sawyer of the Kiwanis Club, and Johnnie Luehrs of the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce presenting the award to Taylor Arnette. (Photo by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald)
Daniel Riley Coleman is representing Dillon Christian School as this year’s “Farm-City Week” Outstanding Student.
Riley is the son of Rhett and Raetta Coleman and the grandson of Ray and Kay Stanes, Harriett Bartlett, and the late Ray Coleman Sr. He is a very well rounded and hardworking senior at Dillon Christian School. Riley is praised by his teachers for his dedication both academically and spiritually throughout his years at DCS. He has remained steadfast in his studies, working to the best of his ability. His positive attendance record is also a clear indication of his conscientious and reliable character. Riley has been a member of the football team throughout his years at DCS where he has demonstrated true sportsmanship, from being a freshman player on the team to leading the team this year as a senior player.
In addition to his contributions at school, Riley is involved in his church and youth group. He is a camp counselor for the Victory Sports Camp and volunteers at the local animal shelter. Riley works at his family farm where he has learned the “hands on” skills needed to eventually take his place in running the day-to-day operations of the family business. He plans to pursue a degree in Agribusiness at Clemson University next fall to learn the “business aspect” of the farm. His leadership qualities and abilities, when combined with his dedication to academics and civic volunteerism, made Riley a wonderful choice to represent Dillon Christian School for the nomination of an “Farm-City Outstanding Student.” (Contributed Photo)