Women of Achievement: Belinda Copeland

Belinda Copeland Photo by Jana E. Pye

Belinda Copeland
Photo by Jana E. Pye

Each year the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization honors a Woman of Achievement at the state pageant. The pageant recognizes and honors women who, through their works and lives, have significantly improved the lives of women in our great state. This year’s award will be special since the pageant is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

The Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Pageant and Miss Darlington High School pageants under the direction of Will Isgett nominated three very deserving women this year, all who call Darlington County home.

Miss S.C. Sweet Potato Festival Chelsea Bullock nominated long time Darlington County Treasurer Belinda Copeland, who will retire after 30 years of service.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization’s awards banquet on June 24th in Columbia.

When defining the word “accomplished,” Darlington County native Belinda Copeland is one of the first names that comes to mind. Copeland, who has served as the elected Treasurer of Darlington County for 30 years, will retire this year leaving a void of someone who has truly made a difference in Darlington County and the state of South Carolina.

Born in Greenville S.C., Copeland is a graduate of Coker College with a degree in Business Management and Accounting. She began her political career in Darlington County as she won a seat on Darlington’s County Council in 1978 beating out three male opponents and eventually became Chairman of the Council before deciding to run for the county’s treasurer’s position in 1985. Her interest in politics began in 1972 as she began work as the Secretary with Darlington County Legislative Delegation then later served as Secretary of the Darlington County Democratic Party.
Copeland recalls a time when she was out politicking and she stopped into a residence to ask for support.

She told the resident that she was there to ask for his vote, he told her “We have a man doing that job, what do you think you need it for?” Now some 38 years later, this female has been very successful in the position she holds and has served the citizens of Darlington County to the fullest.

When not working, Copeland remains busy as she serves as the Chairman of the South Carolina Eastern District of the Girl Scouts, which encompasses 21 counties in South Carolina and has also served as Chairman of the Board of the Epworth Children’s Home and past President and current treasurer of the South Carolina Association of Counties.

For 20 years she has been a member of the Darlington Pilot Club which sponsors the S.C. Sweet Potato Festival, an event that attracts 25,000 people to Darlington. Copeland is the recipient of many awards including the Sonny Siau award for her work with the South Carolina Auditors and Tax Collectors Association, the Directors Award for the South Carolina Department of Revenue and received one of the highest honors of the South Carolina Pilot Club the Mildred Henry Davenport Award, which is given to someone who exemplifies the basic principles of Pilot in his/her personnel and community life. Currently she is a member of committee that will launch Project Life Saver in Darlington County, a program that will be useful in tracking an individual who suffers from Alzheimer’s or other types of illness if they get lost.

When asked how she has been so successful in her life she says it’s all because of the power of prayer. She is an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Hartsville where is a Sunday School teacher and also sings in the Church Choir. Copeland is married and has two daughters and three grandchildren.

Author: Jana Pye

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