FLORENCE, S.C. – Twice-retired Clemson Cooperative Extension horticulture agent Tony Melton was awarded the Order of the Palmetto on Wednesday at the Florence County Extension Office.
S.C. Sen. Kent Williams presented the award.
“Tony’s dedication and devotion to Clemson Cooperative Extension and the citizens we serve are unmatched,” said Thomas Dobbins, the director of the Clemson University Extension Service.
“He doesn’t just work for Clemson; he works for every person in South Carolina.”
The Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, recognizing individuals for their extraordinary achievements, service and contributions to the state. A once-in-a-lifetime achievement, the award is presented only to natives or residents of the state.
“What can I say about Tony Melton other than he is the epitome of a true public servant?” Williams said. “A man who put people ahead of himself, dedicated and committed; that is Tony Melton.
“This is a great honor for him today, one that is well deserved and earned for his dedication, his loyalty and his commitment to mankind.
“God bless Tony.”
A native of McBee, Melton earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in horticulture from Clemson University. He began his career in Clemson Cooperative Extension in 1989 as a county agent for Darlington, Florence, Lee and Williamsburg counties. Melton was a familiar face on SCETV’s “Making it Grow” gardening program, answering questions from callers to the show. He was involved in fruit and vegetable research for growers at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center and was awarded a Specialty Crop Block Grant to develop heat-tolerant butter beans.
“People are the reason,” Melton said. “Farmers are touching people’s lives. It’s wonderful, truly wonderful.”
Melton has received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Clemson Alumni Association, the County Agent of the Year from the S.C. Beekeeper Association and the Distinguished Service Award from the S.C. Association of County Agricultural Agents.