From staff reports
W. Larry Dandridge, a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Island News, was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto Award, on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Dandridge received the award is in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service, and contributions on a national and statewide scale.
The Order of the Palmetto was presented to Dandridge by the State of S.C. State Representative Mark Smith (R-99) and Brigadier General (Ret.) and Charleston Military Officers Association Chapter President Ernie Brockman. The award is signed by Governor Henry McMaster.
Dandridge writes a weekly article on veterans’ benefits for The Island News and is known throughout S.C. as champion of service members, veterans and their families.
Previously, for his volunteer work helping veterans, Dandridge received the S.C. House of Representatives’ highest recognition for public service (Feb. 1, 2020) through S.C. House Resolution H.5224. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Military Writers Association of America (MWSA) Silver Writing and Book Award and several Silver Quill Awards.
For 18 years, Dandridge has been the Chapter Vice President for Veterans Affairs for the Coastal S.C. Association of the U.S. Army; Chapter Vice President for Personal Affairs for the Charleston, S.C. Military Officers Association of America; an Ambassador of Good Will for Fisher House Charleston and the Friends of Fisher House Charleston; a volunteer Patient Adviser and Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) Instructor at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center; a member of the RHJVA Medical Center CEO’s Stakeholder Advisory Council; a member of the RHJ VA Health Care System’s Patient and Family Advisory Council; a member of the RHJVA Medical Center’s Customer Service Council; and a past Veterans Service Officer. Dandridge is also a past hospice volunteer and the founder of Community Loving Care Hospice LLC.
He has published countless articles on military and veterans’ benefits, leadership, employment, logistics, hospice, and end-of-life planning in more than 20 newspapers and magazines in the United States, Germany and England. His leadership articles have been used by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Department of Homeland Security, numerous Army schools (Aviation, Artillery, Military Police, Engineer, and others), AUSA, MOWW, and many other government organizations and many businesses like Blue Cross Blue Shield of S.C., QinetiQ North America, Inc., Westar Aerospace and Defense Group, and others.
His award-winning and popular book, Blades of Thunder, has raised more than $70,000 for Fisher House Charleston and Fisher House Columbia.
Dandridge is a Vietnam-era Wounded Warrior and retired Army Master Aviator who served with courage and distinction as a soldier in war and peace for 24 years. Despite being a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran, he has devoted his life to helping others as a soldier, police officer and a volunteer in numerous capacities.
One of the founding members of the Tri-County Veterans Support Network, Dandridge has led numerous fundraising campaigns and events that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Fisher House Charleston, Fisher House Columbia/Fort Jackson, and military members and veterans.Dandridge’s articles for the The Island News can be found at www.yourislandnews.com