Hartsville mayor awarded Order of Palmetto
From Staff Reports
In a surprise ceremony May 24, Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Henry McMaster. The Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor and it recognizes citizens for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements. Pennington has been mayor for nearly 12 years. This will be his last term, as he has said he does not plan to run again. “I’m here today to recognize someone who you all know has played an important role in the greatness of this — I guess now you’d have to say ‘city’ of Hartsville,” McMaster said. “My wife and kids have allowed me to put the city first,” Pennington said. “And I’m ready to go back.” McMaster’s meeting with Pennington was not listed on a version of the governor’s schedule that was sent out to the media. That schedule stated that McMaster and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette were making three brief visits to Darlington County businesses, but reporters were not allowed to tag along. McMaster and Evette were scheduled to “visit and tour” three local businesses in the span of a few hours: Integrated Systems at 4605 Hangar Access Road near the county airport; Sonoco’s Innovative Packaging Studio, Sonoco Wright Room, 1 N. 2nd Street, Hartsville; and Impact Imaging LLC, 1015 W. Bobo Newsom Highway, Hartsville. The News & Press sent staffers to Integrated Systems, the first stop on the list, but we were told that all of the tours had been closed to the media.