Tuesday, July 15, 2014
For several years prior to my retirement, there was a poster on the back of a door in our office space that had a picture of an incredible cat. The most special feature about the picture is that the cat had one green eye and one brown eye--with the inscription at the bottom of the poster stating, “Not everyone sees things the same way.” The way that one sees a thing, or a person, becomes real to that person—as our perceptions indeed become our realities. As I interacted with my employees, colleagues, and supervisors, I would often reflect on that message. So it is today, that I choose to reflect on that message, and my perception in an expression of gratitude to Mr. James H. Darby-- who just recently completed his role as a member, and past Chairman, of the Williamsburg County School District Board of Trustees.
As a resident of the district in which Mr. Darby lives and serves, I know that this departure from the local school board is his third break in public service. For 22 years, he served in the military of this great nation, and is a veteran of the United States Air Force-- having been highly decorated with honor, bravery, and valor. Upon retirement from the military, Mr. Darby then continued his journey as a public servant, through the utilization of his own educational accomplishments— having earned the Bachelor’s, the Master’s, and the Educational Specialist degrees—to work as a teacher, school principal, and district-level administrator. His passion in the work of providing a better education for all students of Williamsburg County is foundational to his core philosophy, and undeniable to those who know him. Personally, I recall the initiative that he successfully led to establish JROTC programs in the high schools of this county, because he understood the value of making such programs accessible to students on their own territory. Personally, I recall his desire to provide field trips for all of his students, because he understood that through such experiences, the students’ eyes would be awakened to new possibilities for their own lives. After his retirement from active duty as an educator, Mr. Darby continued to work to make a positive difference in the lives of those whom he served through his office as a Williamsburg County School District Board of Trustee member—where there were many battles that may have seemed as taxing as military conflicts, but where his quest for a better education for all children, continued to be his driving force.
As a community resident, I know Mr. Darby to be a devoted family man, having been married for approximately 50 years to his late wife— also an amazing lady and public servant who understood the value of education; a father; grandfather; and great grandfather, who is much loved and highly respected by his family. I know him to be a faithful member of his local church, where he continues his journey of service. I also know him to be a trailblazer, having navigated tumultuous terrain so that the way for others might be a little more easily traveled.
This is my perception of Mr. James H. Darby—a man of vision, a man of integrity, and a man of great courage.
Linda B. Huell