Several Scotland County residents were honored for volunteer and community service during this week’s meeting of the Scotland County Board of Commissioners.
The 2012 Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service has been awarded to three individual recipients from Scotland County along with a Scotland County counseling organization.
Doris Douglas and Mary Hambright, both of the Scotland Community Health Clinic, along with the Scotland Family Counseling Center, Inc. received the distinction for their volunteer work in the community.
Dr. William James Loftus, who has served with Scotland County’s Hospice along with a bevy of other service organizations, also received the Governor’s Award along with another recognition.
“The Medallion Award,” given to only 20 individuals statewide each year, was presented to Loftus in recognition of his lifelong service to the community.
“This is quite an honor for Dr. Loftus,” said Rev. Howard H. Whitehurst, chairman of the Scotland County Committee on Volunteerism, the organization responsible for managing the award process in the county.
Loftus, who moved to Scotland County in 1974, was surprised when he learned he was receiving the award for lifetime achievement.
“Those types of awards, I thought, were for big, important people who do big, important things – not for someone ordinary, like me,” said Loftus.
Inspired to serve from an early age by his mother, who until the very day of her death knitted robes for nurses, Loftus has adopted a service philosophy once described by former United States President Teddy Roosevelt.
“’You do what you can, with what you have, where you are’ – That quote really struck a chord with me, because so many people think that you have to be special or brilliant to do anything or be of any help, and that is not the case,” said Loftus.
The former St. Andrews University Dean of Students, Scotland County-Laurinburg Chamber of Commerce Chairman and retired French Professor also has some advice for those currently looking to serve the community through volunteerism.
“If you start out thinking that you need to do the biggest thing, or that you need to change the world, you will be overwhelmed and never do anything.
“Keep Roosevelt’s quote in mind, and if you do, what you will accomplish over the years, along with the other members of your community, will be stunning.”
This is the third consecutive year that a Medallion Award winner has been selected from Scotland County.
“We think that fact is rather phenomenal, as this award is something that is meant to be spread around,” said Whitehurst.
“It is evidence that we really have a lot of good volunteers.”
In addition to the volunteer award winners, Scotland County also had another award winner. Faye Coates, who works at Northview Harvest Ministries coordinating that organization’s service activities, received the Governor’s award for “Director of Volunteers,” in the non-volunteer service category.
“The type of volunteer activity she coordinates is far reaching,” said Whitehurst, in praise of Coates’ work in the community.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Davis presented each of the recipients their awards in a public ceremony during the meeting, and made note of the importance of volunteerism in the community.
“You can’t say enough about what people like these mean to Scotland County,” said Davis.
“They mean so much to us today, and I don’t know where our community would be without them.”
This year’s award winners, all nominated by members of the community they serve, “were all surprised to learn that they had won,” said Whitehurst, who oversaw the application process.
According to Whitehurst, the fact that Scotland County has had such an unusually large number of winners suggests that the area has a great number of “folks that want to be involved, and that want to do things for others.”
Asked what the volunteers have in common, Whitehurst suggested that they all “have a giving spirit.”
“To volunteer like this takes a very generous and kind person,” said Whitehurst.