News Archive

Fire engines dedicated during 9/11
Memorial service in Piedmont

Approximately 75 people attended a Sept. 11 community memorial service Wednesday morning at the Piedmont Fire Department.

In addition to remembering the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the service recognized Piedmont firefighters and ended with the dedication of two new fire engines.

Piedmont Fire Chief Butch Nichols welcomed those in attendance and asked for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.

Dwayne Strickland presented music, Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning.

Piedmont Public Service District  Chairperson Marsha Rogers made comments and remembered when she heard of the events and how it affected her. She also mentioned the $10,000 in donations for 9/11 victims’ families collected by Piedmont firefighters from Piedmont area residents shortly after the incident.

Piedmont firefighters Lt. Dusty Allen and Lt. Terry Yates then lowered the station flag to half staff while Scott Fesperson and David Freeman played taps.

Rogers then led the crowd as they sang God Bless America.

Piedmont Commissioner and firefighter Al McAbee then spoke on the events of Sept. 11.

Sylvia Brown recognized state and local officials including Rep. Dan Cooper, Rep. Dan Tripp, Anderson County Council representative Bill Dees, Greenville County Councilman “Bunk” Johnson, Piedmont Commissioners Fred Glenn, Al McAbee, C. E. “Ed” Poore Jr., J. C. Goob Turner, Marsha Rogers, Piedmont consultant Rusty Burns and several Greenville County deputies in attendance.

Assistant Fire Chief Tracy Wallace recognized Piedmont firefighters and presented a history of the Piedmont Fire Department.

Chief Nichols and John Mitchell of  E-One then presented the two new fire engines which the District recently placed into service.

During the dedication, McAbee dedicated Engine One to the citizens of Piedmont, “for their willingness to support the department” and Engine Two “to all the firemen past and present,” and to Chief Butch Nichols who has served the department for 36 years.

McAbee said the trucks are identical except Engine One is a four door cab and Engine Two is a two door cab.

Photos and additional information on the two new trucks and the Piedmont Fire Department will be featured in the Sept. 18 issue of The Journal.

 Williamston approves reinterment of founder West Allen Williams
Williamston Town Council heard a request on placement of a Sept. 11 memorial plaque, recognized D. R. Chastain and discussed reinterment of West Allen Williams during their regular monthly meeting Sept. 9.

Council heard a request from a descendant of Williamston’s Founder, West Allen Williams.

Connie Barnwell asked Council to consider reinterment of Williams’ remains in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park, “as an honor to the family and as the founder of Williamston.”

Mayor Phillip Clardy said, “Our town park serves as a reminder of our founder.” He said the site should be a memorial and reflect reverence and not be placed too close to areas in the park used for recreation.

Clardy said a site near where the Gist rifle monument is located would be an appropriate place for the reinterment.

Councilman Jimmy Rogers asked when the event was planned and if all approvals from the family and DHEC had been met.

Clardy said he had met with family members and had their approval and that Barnwell was making the request on behalf of the living relatives. He also said that the necessary paperwork and approvals for the movement of the remains has been secured.

Councilman David Harvell asked about costs associated with the project.

Clardy said there was to be minimal costs to the Town. He said a horse drawn carriage company has committed to participate in the reinterment ceremony at no cost and that there were to be very little remains to be moved.

A specific date for the ceremony has not been set, Clardy said, however it will be sometime this fall.

Williamston Sesquicentennial Committee member Bobbie Mackey asked town officials to consider placing the recently unveiled plaque commemorating Sept. 11 somewhere within the municipal complex.

Mackey said the committee decided it would be more visible than if placed at the veterans memorial as originally plannned.

The plaque, which was presented to the Town by the 150th  Committee on behalf of citizens, was unveiled during a community memorial service Sunday.  Council accepted the request as information.

In other business, Council approved a request by Walt Smith to hold the Williamston Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. on Dec. 14. Acting on a motion by Councilman Rogers, Council also approved a request for $800 for candy, trophies and other costs associated with the annual event.

Also during the meeting, former School District One teacher D. R. Chastain was recognized for his contributions to the Williamston area.

Chastain was recently presented the key to the city and Mayor Clardy read a resolution recognizing his many contributions.

Council approved a motion made by Clardy to allow Chastain to be named honorary mayor for a day on Thursday Sept. 19.

“The mayor’s office will open at 12 noon to allow citizens to greet Chastain and say  thanks for all he has done for the Town of Williamston,” Clardy said.

Councilman Mackey said FFA advisors on the national, state, or district level could call on Doc Chastain  for ideas or input.

Council also approved the town’s election ordinance to hold a nonpartisan election Nov. 5  for Ward One and Ward Two.  The two four-year terms will run from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2006.

Council also nominated Margaret Holloway to fill a vacant position on the Town’s election commission. Other election commission members are Robert Glasby and Diane Carter. According to the state municipal code handbook only three members are required, Clardy said.

Council also approved a request by Benny Sargent to hold a Christian “battle of the bands” event in Mineral Spring Park in November. The event will be advertised widely and will include a food vendor set up in the park, according to Sargent.

The approval is contingent upon a certificate of insurance and other reservations for the same date.

Council scheduled a budget work session for Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. The meeting will include all town department heads.

Elizabeth Ford gave an update on the sesquicentennial plans which will include a pageant to choose a Jr. and Sr. Queen in Oct., a Veteran’s Day parade in Nov., a burial service for West Allen Wiliams, and Christmas parade. the committee will also continue selling souvenir items and ads for the souvenir program book.

Council also agreed to sponsor an old fashioned halloween costume ball for adults and children to be  held on Oct. 31.

Clardy told Council that several street names within the town are under consideration for renaming by Anderson County.  Council will have the final say on the street names, Clardy said.

Council also approved a request by a citizens committee to recognize a community on Cherokee Rd. as the Newton Mattison subdivision.

Clardy announced that the Town of Williamston will host the next County municipal meeting on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

Council also approved a request by Palmetto High School student council president Steven Webb to paint horse shoes on Hamilton St..

Clardy said a letter of endorsement from the Town and  the student body will be sent to SCDOT.

Council also agreed to abide by requests of President George W. Bush to commemorate Sept. 11 by flying flags at half staff, holding a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. and ringing of church bells for one minute. following the moment of silence.

A flag  which had flown over the U. S. Capitol was also presented to the Sesquicentennial Committee. The flag was sent from Rep. Jerry Moran, of Kansas.

West Pelzer ready to proceed with sewer project

West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution Tuesday that will allow the Town to proceed with the intermunicipal agreement with Pelzer on the Western Carolina joint sewer project.

The joint sewer project between West Pelzer and Pelzer to hook on to Western Carolina Sewer will bring both municipalities up to current environmental standards, officials said.

Both towns received Federal Rural Development loans in 1999 to help with the sewer trunk line construction connecting with Western Carolina.

The Western Carolina Sewer project has been delayed due to problems in obtaining rights of way, officials said. The rights of way have been cleared and the towns are ready to proceed, officials said.

The towns have one year from July to complete the project or the towns will be facing a $5,000 fine.

The towns are also in the process of bidding the project and must have a contract signed for construction by December to meet DHEC mandates.

In other business, acting on a motion made by council member Maida Kelly, Council agreed that any person or municipality borrowing town equipment must sign for the items.

Council also heard from West Pelzer citizen Terry Davis who said   statements allegedly made by Mayor Bill Alexander at an earlier meeting should be addressed. 

Another citizen presented a list of community service suggestions to Council.

Suggestions included refurbishing or replacing existing Christmas decorations, organizing a Christmas parade, organizing a food drive, and possibly a community dinner.

She also suggested forming a spring committee to hang flags, plant flowers, and organize a list of elderly or disabled citizens who may need assistance, a community yard sale with proceeds to go to the improvement of the community and a commuity cook-out with food and games.

Other suggestions included having welcome to the neighborhood flyers and recognizing birth announcements.

9/11 remembered by local citizens

By Stephanie Summerlin

Most of us remember where we were when we first heard the news. We at The Journal were busy working toward a weekly deadline when one of us heard about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center on the car radio during the ride to the office.

We sat in disbelief when, after a television was brought in, we saw the Twin Towers burn, then collapse. We watched in horror as we witnessed the burning of the Pentagon and the plane wreckage on the field in Pennsylvania.

And while we wondered in fear what we would have to face next, there were many in  Williamston who were forced to not only wonder, but act.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison, like fire fighters throughout the nation, saw the devastation unfold on television – devastation that hit close to home. Fellow firemen, hundreds of them, lost their lives that September day. The scene at the World Trade Center haunted him.

“This has really brought things home,” Ellison told The Journal days after the Sept. 11 attacks. “What happened there could have easily happened here in Williamston.”

That was a possibility that lay heavily on the minds of local leaders. Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy says the day and its anxieties are still fresh in his thoughts.

“My most poignant memory was sitting in my office and watching the Twin Towers fall,” he says. “I had gotten a phone call from my office earlier that morning as I was preparing to come into work. The Governor’s Office had contacted Town Hall to put us, like other municipalities, on high alert.”

The mayor and his staff were forced to lock down Town Hall and try their best to relay what little information they had to Williamston citizens. He says the remainder of the day was filled with sadness and a sense of responsibility.

“It was tough from the perspective that you felt helpless – wanting to help those in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and not knowing how to at that point,” Clardy says. “While we are at a great distance from those locations, you still had the same thoughts of, what would I do if that were my town being attacked? If those were my fire fighters, police officers and citizens being hurt or killed?”

Just down the road was another front of sorts. Dr. Reggie Christopher was handed the task of making sure area children, and those who taught them, were safe and sound.

“Anytime you have a crisis, whether it be local, state, national or international, a leader has to remain calm and focus on the task at hand – all while being aware that something terrible has happened,” Christopher says. “My task that day was to let teachers and principals do whatever they felt was necessary.”

In many Anderson School District One classrooms, that meant facing the tragedy head on.

“Some classrooms stayed glued to the TV and used the events to teach and allow students to express themselves,” he says.

Christopher says that while his charge was to lead his district, there was a big part of him that felt the impact of 9/11.

“I remember it as a day of sorrow and a day of realizing how truly vulnerable we are as people,” he says. “I also think about how thankful I was to live in a country which responded so well to others in need.”

It’s been a year today, and the wounds of Sept. 11 are still

Memorial service brings community together again

Citizens of Williamston, Pelzer and West Pelzer came together Sunday to remember those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

The nearly three-hour-long Community Memorial Service at Palmetto Stadium featured remarks from a number of local leaders and pastors, as well as recognition of community servants.

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared to a joint session of our nation’s Congress that the atrocity of Dec. 7, 1941 would never be forgotten and its date would live in infamy,” Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy remarked. “A year ago, an equal calamity of Sept. 11, 2001 brought us to this field to mourn and to question. I conveyed to the audience as we gathered here that, though the uncertainty of our tomorrows are fearful, the sun would certainly rise again.

“It is my hope and prayer for tonight’s service that in some word, deed or provoked thought, we will as a nation, remember, as a people, we may endure, and as a community, that we will press onward.”

Also appearing with the Mayor on the platform were Cindy Wilson, Anderson County Council; Billy O’Dell, state senator; Michael Thompson, state representative; the Rev. Jonathan Hodges, Williamston Church of God; the Rev. David Cox, Tri-Ministerial Association and Hillcrest Baptist Church; the Rev. Mitch Gambrell, Big Creek Baptist Church; Elizabeth Ford, Williamston Sesquicentennial Committee; the Rev. Billy Slatten, Tabernacle Baptist Church; Dr. Harold Mackey, Williamston Town Council; and the Revs. Charles and Nancy Blakely, Williamston Presbyterian Church.

In his remarks, Clardy relayed messages of thanks from President George W. Bush, N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, N.Y. Governor George Pataki and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for remembrance registers sent to the White House, New York and the Pentagon following last year’s memorial service.

Joining the mayor in presenting remarks were the Rev. Eric Boggs, pastor of Beech Springs Tabernacle, who spoke on “As a People, We Endure”; and Dr. N.P. Pearson, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church, who offered “As a Community, We Press Onward.”

Special music was presented by a community mass choir consisting of vocalists from a number of local churches. Led by Tim Brooks, minister of music at Calvary Baptist Church and accompanied by pianist Susan Bunton, the choir presented “God of Our Fathers” and a host of patriotic hymns. Steve Wagner also performed “Taps” following a moment of silence observed by the audience.

Also on the program were bell chimes acknowledging the sacrifices of human life in each major military conflict faced by America since 1776. Williamston Fire Department Chief Steve Ellison also ordered a lone siren call in recognition of the fallen fire fighters of 9/11.

The evening concluded with the unveiling of a memorial plaque depicting the locations attacked by terrorists last September. The plaque, five feet tall and weighing approximately 450 pounds, is inscribed with “September 11, 2001 – Through blurred eyes we find the strength and courage to soar beyond the moment. We look to the future knowing we can never forget the past. God Bless America.”





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