2015 Year in Review: Lifestyles stories
Transplant for Toriana: Darlington girl wih biliary atresia plans for liver transplant
Toriana Douglas has endured so many doctor’s visits, tests, and hospitalizations in her short nine years, yet she exudes a quiet strength that inspires so many around her.
When asked how long she has had her illness, she replied softly, “Since I was a baby.”
Toriana was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia at her two-week checkup by her pediatrician, Dr. Bardi. Her team of liver specialists at MUSC in Charleston are trying to keep her as healthy as possible for a future liver transplant; the older a child is, the better their chances of the transplant being successful.
Read more: Transplant for Toriana
Birthday celebration of Albert “Junie “James and Lucas Dargan
A July 18 birthday party held at the South Charleston Road home of Lucas Dargan offered family and friends a chance to celebrate the long lives of two Darlington pillars: Albert “Junie” James, age 99, and Lucas Dargan, age 98.
Helping hungry kids in Lamar
Seconds after the black SUV parks at Lamar’s Cambridge Apartments, kids and their parents emerge with smiles and open arms, hugging Gay Jeffords and Sue Ingram, catching up on their lives, and gratefully accepting bags of much-needed food.
“It’s a Godsend. They’re like my angels,” said one young mother, watching as her little boy hugged the two familiar visitors.
Jeffords and Ingram work together in the Darlington County School District, and every Thursday morning, they meet at Lamar Elementary School, load up the SUV and make their deliveries as part of the Lamar Food Busters program, which aims to shore up food supply gaps for children in need.
Inspired by the work of Carolina Kids in Hartsville and Darlington, the ladies teamed up with organizer Andrea Pulling and Lamar Elementary principal Garry Flowers in March to establish a feeding program for their town’s schoolchildren. By partnering with Harvest Hope Food Bank, local churches and community members, they garnered enough donations to feed more than fifty children every week.
Read more: Helping hungry kids in Lamar
Dream Flights over Darlington
The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation made dreams come true for two dozen U.S. Veterans at the tiny Branham’s Airport not far from the Darlington Raceway September 2 – 4. The AADF, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. Their primary focus is individuals living in long term care communities, but occasionally provide flights to other veterans, such as those in the Darlington area. Their mission is “Give back to those who have given.”
AADF President Darryl Fisher from Carson City Nevada, and fellow AADF pilot Mike Winterboer from Oregon flew the gold and blue Boeing Stearman open cockpit biplane down from North Carolina after flying veterans from Winston Salem, Salisbury, and Pinehurst. The gentleman will meet with their largest sponsor, SportClips, during the VFW Help a Hero SportClips 200 race at the “Track Too Tough To Tame” and will stay for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race before heading off to their next flight locations.
“One of my ground crew told me, this is a time machine- people go up at (age) 90 and come back down at 50. It puts a spring in their step it gives them something they haven’t had in years.”
In addition to the flight, veterans are given a cap signed by the pilot, and a flight certificate is mailed to them to keep along with a photo. They have already confirmed they will return for the Southern 500 weekend in 2016.
Read more: Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation provides flights for Darlington veterans
Three Darlington paperboys recreate their route
Two preachers and a pilot came home to Darlington for a mini-class reunion with several of their classmates from the St. John’s High School Class of 1952, and decided it would be fun to ride bicycles through town to recreate their own paper route.
Their class had only 75 graduates, which was a largest class to come through the high school at that point. The meet every five years, but made an exception when they heard the three “paperboys” were coming home.
The group met at Jewel’s restaurant on the Public Square, and the paperboys did a jaunt before lunch and parked their bicycles in front of the bustling restaurant.
Cecil Weaver, retired pilot for Delta Airlines, now lives in Atlanta GA; Dr. Jim Bailey lives in Wilmington, N.C., and Rev. Bobby Boston lives in Charleston, S.C.
Brian Gandy named Darlington County Historical Commission director
When Doris Gandy began talking about retiring from her position as Historical Commission director earlier this year, Brian, with his experience and enthusiasm, seemed a natural choice as successor and was confirmed this summer.
“I’m very fortunate that the former historian was my mother, so I grew up in the ranks, learning about county history and feeling a great love for it,” says Brian, describing the job as “a privilege and an honor.”
Brian says he wants to lift the Historical Commission’s public profile until everyone understands exactly what a treasure trove of records, photographs, family histories, and artifacts they have at their fingertips.
“I want the name of the Darlington County Historical Commission to be as understood and well received as that of the treasurer or the tax collector,” says Brian. “When you hear it, you know who those people are and what they stand for. We are the storehouse of records that represent the foundings of this county, from the very beginning all the way up through last week.”
Scaring is caring at St. David’s Asylum Haunted House
More than 70 volunteers have pitched in to create Darlington County’s must-scream event of the 2015 Halloween season: the St. David’s Asylum Haunted House in Society Hill. Crews of ghouls got together last week to finalize their themed scare rooms and put the final, gruesome touches on make-up and costumes.
Encouraged by the great fun and community participation at previous haunted houses, DCFD Chief Kenny Stratton teamed with Steven Skipper to form S&S Productions and got permission from the Town of Society Hill to transform the vacant St. David’s Academy campus into a creepy and cool frightfest.
Scare on the Square
The Darlington Area Recreation Department and the Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association delighted children of Darlington for the second Scare on the Square on Thursday, October 29, The Sherwood Family – Dorothy, Brian, Aubrey and Trevor – saved the day as The Incredibles.
See more: SCARE on the Square 2015
3rd Annual Speed and Feed
The Darlington Raceway hosted the third annual Speed & Feed BBQ Cook-Off on Nov. 13 and 14, luring over thirty expert barbecue teams from South Carolina and beyond to compete for top honors. The News and Press was lucky enough to score a behind the scenes pass to accompany one cook team as they strove for Q-glory.
Quentin and Barbara Tedder of Beaufort cook together under the team name “S’Lowcountry Q” (with a crescent moon subbing for the apostrophe in their logo), and they’ve been on a roll of late. Though they’ve only entered about a half-dozen competitions this year, the Tedders have taken first place at BBQ competitions in Mullins and Gaston.