|Limestone Grad Presented with State's Highest Honor|
Story and photo by Cody Sossamon of the Gaffney LedgerJudy Nix got the surprise of her life Monday when she attended what she thought was a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett at the home of Barry and Judy Hamrick.
As it turns out, the dozens attending the "fundraiser" were there to honor Nix for 20 years of service to the Cherokee Children's Home and her ongoing dedication to abused and neglected children.Nix was praised by Kim Phillips, board member of the Children's Home, for her unselfish dedication and love for the nearly 2,000 children who ave been served by the Home. He then presented her with "Story Time," a bronze sculpture by Austin of a nurturing woman reading to a child.
Gaffney Mayor Henry Jolly read a proclamation honoring Nix and Blacksburg Mayor David Hogue presented her with a key to the town.
South Carolina's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, was presented to Nix on behalf of Gov. Mark Sanford by Sen. Harvey Peeler and Reps. Steve Moss and Dennis Moss.
The award is given for extraordinary lifetime achievement and service to the state and nation. It was presented to Nix in recognition of her service to the Children's Home as well as the leadership she has provided as an advocate for children in South Carolina.
Nix is past president, secretary and treasurer of the S.C. Children's Emergency Shelter Network. She has also served on the S.C. Association of Children's Homes and Family Services as well as various other local and state organizations and is an active member of the First Baptist Church.
An emotional Nix gave all the credit for the success of the Children's Home to its employees.
"They are the people who do all of the work that makes me look good," she said at the conclusion of the program.
Lifetime Children's Home board member Judy Hamrick said Nix is deserving of all the praise.
"Judy is a true ambassador for the abused and neglected children who find themselves at Cherokee Children's Home. While Judy is blessed financially not to have to work, she chooses to do so as she has done for nearly 20 years at Cherokee Children's Home," Hamrick said in a press releases issued Monday night.
"She has a God-given ability to feel comfortable with people from all walks of life. She is always ready to speak a kind word to a hurting child or speak on behalf of that child at a formal gathering," Hamrick continued. "Judy has a heart for service. Because of the devotion of Judy Nix, Cherokee Children's Home is thriving in spite of the present economic environment. This role over the past 20-year period has allowed Cherokee Children's Home to serve over 1,600 children and Judy has shown genuine love to each of them."