HARTSVILLE, S.C. — For a century, the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce has been holding its annual meeting. It has survived World War II, The Depression and now a pandemic. On Thursday night, nearly 200 chamber members and guests attended the 100th Annual Meeting of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce held at the Hartsville Country Club.
Jamie Kelly, 2020 chamber board chair, recapped the year’s events, and Ben Chastain, 2021 chamber board chair, provided an outlook for the coming year.
The chamber announced that the annual meeting’s return will be followed by a second golf tournament this year in November and the Taste of Hartsville on Oct. 21.
Looking forward, Chastain said the ground work has been laid.
“I believe our membership will continue to prosper and grow,” he said. “I believe we can make this a comeback year.”
Two annual awards, Rotary Club Citizen of the Year and the chamber’s Will Woodham Business Person of the Year, recipients were revealed during the event. Lisa Fagan received the Citizen of the Year trophy. Michael June and Robert “Bobby” June, owners of the Hartsville Country Club, will share the Business Person of the Year honors.
Prior to presenting this year’s Citizen of the Year Award, Rotary President Hannah McCain presented a plaque to last year’s recipient, Joann DeLong. The pandemic canceled last year’s event.
McCain said that each year since the first award was presented to Mrs. David R. Coker in 1940, “the Rotary Club of Hartsville has sought to recognize with honor a citizen who has contributed to our community in a way that makes it a better place to live.”
“This year’s recipient is one of the most committed servants to our community,” McCain said. “She works tirelessly all day, all week, all year long. She helps families find the resources they need — whether it be shoes, glasses, fans, clothes, food or money for bills. It is not unusual to find her at Walmart on a Sunday afternoon buying shoes for a child in need, or finding a sponsor to help pay for glasses for a child who cannot see, or securing financial help for a family who cannot pay their electric bill. Many times, she has spent her Friday afternoons in an emergency room with a sick child that is not her own. And she does these acts of kindness after hours and in a kind and gentle manner. She doesn’t seek praise nor does she complain.”
She works closely with Carolina Kids and the Happy Feet Program, sponsored by the Rotary Club, and provides the names of families in need for the community-wide Thanksgiving Blessing Boxes program sponsored by local churches. She also provides names to various churches during the Christmas season.
The nominating party wrote, “In my last year of teaching, she made certain that one of my students was clothed for the year and received Christmas gifts for the first time in his 17 years.”
Fagan is lead social worker for the Darlington County School District. Her career with the school district began in January 1995.
Fagan said the award was truly a surprise and that she could think of so many people more deserving of the award. She attended the chamber event thinking she was there to represent the Rotary Happy Feet program.
“I love my job, I love to help people,” Fagan said. “It is a part of my everyday life. Hartsville is such a giving community. It makes my job easier. We have such great resources. I feel very lucky and blessed to work in a caring school district. There are 10 of us that work together.”
She said what she does in not just a job. She said you have to be compassionate and passionate about helping others.
A native of Darlington, Lisa lives in Hartsville with her husband Steve Fagan. They have one daughter, SaraAnn Fagan.
Kelly, 2018 Will Woodham Business Person of the Year, also recognized the 2019 recipient, Dr. Mike Harless who was unable to attend this year.
The 2020 Will Woodham Business Person of the Year recipients, Michael June and Bobby June, purchased the Hartsville Country Club in 2016. Under their direction, the club has seen continued growth and improvements.
She said, “When you look at our community and think about all of the individuals working together to make Hartsville the place we love, you think about the many contributions made and their different forms. The recipients of tonight’s award make those contributions quietly, while always bringing a hug and a smile to go along with them.”
They employ more than 70 individuals in the Hartsville area and are described by one employee as “Exemplifying what it means to be a leader in the community. They acknowledge their success by giving back as the most important way to recognize the community that supports them.”
Kelly said they invested in the country club for their friends, family and community.
“They wanted all of Hartsville to have a golf course they could use,” she said. “They revitalized Hartsville Country Club to make it something all of the greater Hartsville area can be proud of…a place for your grandchildren to develop a love for tennis, a place for local college and school teams to continue to develop a love for golf, a place for civic clubs and chambers to host US senators, a place to watch your children get married, and most of all, a place to develop friendships with a few golf-related arguments along the way.”
Michael and Bobby expressed thanks to the community for its support of their endeavors at the country and asked for continued support as they go forward with plans to improve the club, the golf course and its services.
Michael said he, brother, Bobby, and son JJ purchased full ownership of the country club about three years ago.
Michael said they debated whether to keep the golf course open during the pandemic and did. He said business even improved a little during the year.