Hundreds gather to honor McGill

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sister Mary Susanne Dziedzic of St. Ann Felician Center in Kingstree spoke during a reception honoring Lt. Gov. John Yancey McGill. Her heartfelt words were steeped in tears as she recalled the generosity and compassion demonstrated by McGill regarding the welfare of those in need. PHOTO BY MICHAELE DUKE

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Kingstree’s own Lt. Gov. John Yancey McGill was honored August 14, during a reception held at Santee Electric Cooperative Conference Center. Hundreds gathered to show appreciation to McGill who served 26 years as senator before being voted Lt. Governor.

The Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber hosted the event with the support of many partners. Guests included Representative Ronnie Sabb, the Honorable Ken Kennedy, representatives from the offices of Congressman James Clyburn and Senator Tim Scott, Williamsburg County Supervisor Stanley Pasley, and area mayors to name a few.

Special guest speakers included Senators John Land and Hugh Leatherman and republican Gov. Nikki Haley who described her democratic colleague as a highly respected political leader. “This is a man that has a servant’s heart. I’ve seen it,” said Haley. “But this is something we don’t see often: This is a statesman.” Haley recalled a potential crisis in June of this year with Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell’s looming resignation and Sen. John Courson’s resignation as Senate President Pro Tempore effectively eliminating him for the job.

The circumstances created a potential constitutional problem but no one wanted the job that would last only till November. “Why? Because that person couldn’t run for re-election,” said Haley. “So who ever was going to do this was going to sacrifice everything they had worked for to serve the state.” Haley said McGill will be a man who will go down in the history books, “Not for the fact that he was mayor, not for the fact that he served for years in the senate honorably; this is a man that will go down in the history books for willingly sacrificing for his state, not thinking of himself, but thinking of his county, his community, his state, for the good of the cause.”

“This is a man that when I came into office, and there were divisions and there were divides, he showed me nothing but respect,” said Haley. She went on to recall McGill’s commitment to his county. “This is a man who all he wanted to do was to make sure he took care of his county. He has a great love for this county. There wasn’t anything that was ever discussed at the state house that he didn’t want to know how Williamsburg County was going to be affected.

The speakers emphasized McGill’s devotion to his county and district and revealed a laundry list of funding that McGill, while working with both side of the isle.

Retired Senator John Land pointed to his friend, “I am just so proud of you. You have truly distinguished yourself by your service in the South Carolina Senate. You put your people first and you worked harder than anyone I have ever known in the senate and you deserve the position you have in South Carolina at this time.”

Senator Hugh Leatherman’s ties go back over 30 years. Leatherman echoed what each speaker before him spoke. However Leatherman went further. “Without Yancey McGill, being in the senate, making sure that Williamsburg County came on top; without that I’ll tell you your hospital would probably have closed. Your tech center most probably would not have survived,” said the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the Budget and Control Board.

After the flood of accolades Lt. Gov. McGill choose to spend his time thanking those who contributed to the success of the county. “I appreciate the love and compassion in this room,” said McGill. “To think for one moment that here at this very moment that we would have a governor of South Carolina to come into Kingstree to visit with us. A governor who has helped Kingstree and Williamsburg, all over the state - so often, those, regardless of party - democrat, independent, republican - everybody contributes. And I can tell you right now that this governor, when she was in the House was a good friend of mine,” said McGill.

McGill went on to make a correlation between the hard work that went into making the reception a success and the ceaseless commitment of the citizens. “All these sponsors tonight that have come together, it is a tribute to what this county has historically been about,” said McGill as his family looked on. “This community has always been South Carolina at its best because of volunteerism - not asking what is in it for me or I, I me, me. It’s never been that. It was all ‘what can we do to make this community a better place to live. And so tonight you’re not honoring me. You’re honoring all the volunteers, all of the civic groups and the churches, all the different individuals that contributed for years and years...Lets give them a round of applause.”

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