News briefs for March 7th

3 mins read

Legree honored at tourism conference

In an awards luncheon at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel on Feb. 21, Gov. Henry McMaster presented awards to people and places who made significant contributions to tourism in South Carolina. 

The Hospitality Employee of the Year award was given to Mary Rivers Legree, an Information Specialist at the Beaufort Visitors Center widely known for her customer service and deep knowledge of the Gullah culture. She’s a native of St. Helena Island and returned home to the Coffin Point community of her early childhood after spending much of her young adult life in northern states.

When she returned home, she started doing more research on the Gullah culture and eventually became recognized as the local historian. She was so intrigued by the complexity and depth of the story that she wrote a narrative titled “A Brief History of Saint Helena Island.” Legree served in multiple cultural, planning and preservation leadership positions in Beaufort and was twice president of the Penn Club, a non-profit organization that supports Penn Center. 

She is now also a lecturer, having led presentations at Penn State University, the University of South Carolina Beaufort, the Senior Leadership of Beaufort County, and the Peace Corps Alumnae 50th Anniversary and Celebration. Her latest lecture was given at the Beaufort County Public Library.

Officials given Leaders Against Litter Awards

Beaufort County officials were among those honored by PalmettoPride, the state’s anti-litter non-profit organization, with Leaders Against Litter awards at the South Carolina Association of Counties mid-year meeting. 

The Leaders Against Litter awards honor elected officials who sought to make a change in their communities by working with their administrations, employees and citizens on litter prevention. These “Leaders Against Litter” led the charge to make important changes in how their counties address litter, specifically following what PalmettoPride believes are the basic tenets for change: education, enforcement, awareness and pickup.

Beaufort County Council Vice-Chair Paul D. Sommerville was honored after he began recognizing Adopt-A-Highway volunteers at council meetings and was integral in the county’s all-county fall litter pickup and bringing awareness to the impact litter has on economic development.

PalmettoPride also presented companion awards to employees whose position and expertise provided for a “cohesive implementation of plans” with one award going to Beaufort County Director of Public Works Dave Wilhelm. 

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