Three community leaders with ties to the Beaufort County School District have been named as recipients of the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award.
Board of Education member Michael Rivers, Beaufort High School Dean of Students Herbert Glaze and Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen were honored for their public service at the annual Unity Breakfast sponsored by the Xi Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The theme of the breakfast was “Social Justice 2016 – You Matter, I Matter, We All Matter: How Can We Make All Lives Matter for a Better America!”
The award recognizes individuals who have committed themselves to a lifetime of service in the community.
Rivers was elected to the Beaufort County Board of Education in 1998 and served as the District 5 representative until the redistricting in 2012, when he was elected to represent District 3. An ordained minister currently serving at the United Church of Jesus Christ for All People, Rivers has served on numerous boards, including the Beaufort County Recreation Commission, the Parks and Leisure Services Board and the Beaufort-Jasper Academy of Career Excellence. He also served as president of the St. Helena branch of the NAACP, as Lowcountry Regional Coordinator for the South Carolina Conference Branch of the NAACP and as Beaufort County Poll Manager.
After graduating from Beaufort High in 1976, River served in the U.S. Air Force, where he studied business management. He graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Claflin College.
“I’m humbled and honored to be chosen for such a prestigious recognition, and from such an organization of such historic importance,” Rivers said. “It’s more important than ever for all of us to nurture Dr. King’s legacy – not only to remember the dream but also remember the man.”
Glaze has worked in the Beaufort County School system for 44 years and also has served as the girls track coach for 40 years, with his teams winning nine state championships and 26 region championships. He has twice been named as South Carolina’s track and field Coach of the Year and has been inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
In addition to his school-related work, Glaze served on Beaufort County Council for 20 years and founded Citizens Against Violence Everywhere, a grassroots community coalition of key stakeholders including local county and municipal governments, law enforcement agencies, schools, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies, businesses, parents and youth. He serves on the Advisory Board for Beaufort County Adult Education and is a board member of the Lowcountry Council of Governments and the CPM Federal Credit Union.
“When you do things, you do it to benefit others – not for awards,” Glaze said. “But it’s great when you are rewarded because it tells you that people are watching and that they are appreciative.”
Allen served as Deputy Coroner of Beaufort County for 28 years before being named the County’s Coroner in November 2008, making him the first African-American Coroner of Beaufort County since Reconstruction in the 1870s. He graduated from Robert Smalls High School in 1967 and attended Xavier University in New Orleans before transferring to the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He graduated in 1970 with a Certificate in Mortuary Science. In 1974, Allen he became the first director of the Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services and was the first African-American EMS director in South Carolina. He served in that role for 33 years and retired in 2007.
Beginning in 2013, Allen began working with students at Beaufort High School in Bradley Smith’s biomedical science class. With Allen’s assistance, students “investigate” a mock crime scene, analyzing data and evidence to determine the cause of death.