Teacher, BC alumni receive State Citizenship Award

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From staff reports

Denise Lessard, Assistant Principal of Instruction at Battery Creek High School, and Kelli Bright Burke, a 2011 graduate of Battery Creek, received South Carolina Firefighter Association Citizenship Awards on Wednesday, Aug. 19 from state association president Chief Charlie King during a ceremony attended by family and friends at the Burton Fire District’s Grays Hill.

The Citizenship Award is given those who have contributed to the state or to the Association through local civic activities. Lessard and Burke were nominated by the Burton Fire District for their assistance in the District’s Community Risk Reduction program.

Lessard was nominated for her persistent work in community engagement for the students at Battery Creek High School by expanding her students’ education beyond the classroom. From coordinating guest speakers, such as Voters Services of the League of Women’s Voters, to wellness programs, Lessard helps to cultivate well rounded, civic minded students who will go on to be productive and engaged members of our community.

Burke has returned to her alma mater to share her cautionary, yet inspiring, personal story. Burke, a former Creek athlete and cheerleader, was left paralyzed from the waist down after being ejected during a motor vehicle accident her sophomore year.

Burke bravely volunteers to talk to students about the importance of seat belts and persevering through adversity and recently became a new mom.

Both Lessard and Burke were instrumental in starting the Burton Fire District’s “Choices” program, where, in coordination with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, local students learn about safe driving and the dangers of the road. The program has been successful in reaching new drivers at Battery Creek and Whale Branch high schools.

“It truly takes a community to raise healthy, educated, prepared children,” Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree said in a release. “It’s people like Denise and Kelli who make that happen. We were proud to nominate them, and overjoyed they were selected.”

Pictured from left are South Carolina Firefighter Association President Chief Charlie, Kelli Bright Burke, Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree, Denise Lessard and Captain Dan Byrne. Burke and Lessard received South Carolina Firefighter Association Citizenship Awards on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Submitted photo.

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