Three individuals were recognized for their significant contributions and service to the people of the Pee Dee area on Wednesday, Feb. 27 in a ceremony held at the FMU Performing Arts Center.
A fairly new award, the Marion Medallion, was presented to former Florence Police Chief Ralph Porter, executive director and founder of CHOiCES Charter School and Bill and Olive Timberlake of Hartsville.
The medallion is awarded on or about Feb. 27—Francis Marion Day — every year, and was given, FMU President Dr. Fred Carter said to three people who have made “sustained and significant contributions” to the improvement of the Pee Dee and its people.
It was in 2009 that a report released by Francis Marion University presented the contemporary challenges of the region, along with recommendations for addressing them. While there are numerous areas of concern, FMU and the Morning News found it appropriate to acknowledge that there are many who have made significant positive contributions to the community. In that spirit, FMU and the Morning News initiated a new recognition. Beginning in 2012, and continuing annually in perpetuity, the two community institutions present the Marion Medallion to select residents of the Pee Dee region.
About the recipients:
His background in police science, criminal justice and management and human services, prepared Porter for 30 years of work in a variety of law enforcement positions in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and South Carolina. After leaving his position as Chief of Police for the City of Florence in 2000, he founded the CHOiCES Charter School, which boasts an 85% success rate in helping youth who are unable to continue in their assigned schools for a variety of reasons.
Bill and Olive Timberlake
Bill and Olive Timberlake of Hartsville are well known for their dedication to mission work, both at home and away; during the First Presbyterian Church’s recent trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico, a “Casa Timberlake” home was dedicated in honor of the Timberlake’s previous nine years of mission work. Locally, the two are actively involved with the Scouts, Hartsville Food Bank, Hartsville Interfaith Ministries, First Presbyterian Church in Hartsville, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center and a myriad of other organizations throughout the community. Married 65 years, the couple still finds pleasure in helping the less fortunate – together.