February 26, 2021

Marion Medallions go to respected educator, regional healthcare nonprofit 

Marion Medallions go to respected educator, regional healthcare nonprofit 

A community leader and a thriving healthcare organization were recognized for their contributions and service to the people of the Pee Dee area at the 2021 Marion Medallion awards ceremony on Friday, Feb. 26 at the FMU Performing Arts Center. 

Medallions were presented to retired educator Allie Eugene Brooks, Jr. of Florence, and the Florence-based nonprofit healthcare provider HopeHealth. 

Brooks’ venture into education began in 1970 at Moore Middle School in Florence. In 1974, he attained the position of principal at Wilson High School and subsequently remained in the role until his retirement in 2005. Brooks served as superintendent of Florence One Schools from 2010 to June 2014. 

His career has been dotted with accolades, including being named the Outstanding Principal of the Year by the S.C. Association of Secondary School Principals in 1987 as well as receiving an Honorary Degree from Francis Marion University in December 2006. 

HopeHealth was founded in 1991 as Hope for the Pee Dee, a grassroots HIV/AIDS support organization. Its mission changed and expanded over the years. HopeHealth now provides integrated health services for more than 50,000 patients in  Aiken, Clarendon, Florence, Orangeburg, and Williamsburg counties. 

HopeHealth was designated a federally qualified health center in 2007 to expand its services to include primary and pediatric care. The organization has received recognition as a Regional Partner of the Year in 2017 by SC Thrive, and a Million Hearts Health System Award presented by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The Marion Medallion celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The award is sponsored and presented by FMU and the Morning News of Florence. Senior officials of the two organizations work in partnership to select recipients. The medallions are awarded on or about Feb. 27 each year. February 27 has been designated as Francis Marion Day by the state of South Carolina. It recognizes General Francis Marion, the namesake of FMU, a revolutionary war leader who guided the guerrilla forces in the Pee Dee Region. 

Past winners: 

Kathy Baxley, executive director of the Darlington Free Medical Clinic and Henry Johnson, and Hayward King, chief executives of the Lake City based W. Lee Flowers Company (2012) 

Former Florence Police Chief Ralph Porter, executive director and founder of CHOiCES Charter School, and Bill and Olive Timberlake of Hartsville (2013) 

Florence pastors Henry Badie Jr. of Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ and Clyde Odom of King of Kings Church in Florence, and Henry Brunson of Latta, founder of Cooks for Christ (2014)

John and Vicki Kirby of Latta and the founders of Camp RAE, Paige Alexander and Deana Huggins Strickland of Florence (2015)

Carlos Washington of Florence and the Manna House of Florence (2016)

Regi Armstrong of Armstrong Wealth Management, Carl Harmon of Sharing and Caring, and posthumously to Courtney McGinnis Graham (2017)

Wilbur Owens “Billy” Powers of HopeHealth, and Help4Kids (2018)

Charles “Chuck” MacNeil of the Pee Dee Regional Transit Authority, and the Parking Lot Mission (2019)

Allen Floyd of the City of Mullins Recreation Department, and former Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela (2020)

About the Medallion:

The medallion award is an actual medallion. It is a gold-plated bronze piece that weighs 2.5 pounds and is 6 inches in diameter. Francis Marion’s likeness is on one side. The recipient’s name is engraved on the reserve side.