Many of us remember the American Actress Marilyn Monroe, the blond bombshell of the 1950’s who at one time was the most marketable Hollywood Actress. Marilyn was known for movies such as the Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop and the Misfits.  Sadly, she is also remembered as a troubled woman, and for her untimely death. But I believe one of the most notable arguments for remembering Marilyn is the following quote she is credited with: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” And with that interesting thought let’s talk about some local women who have ambition, motivation as well as a plan.  The Professional Women’s Organization has set the date of Thursday, May 7, for the Second Annual Celebrating Women in Williamsburg County Luncheon. Three deserving women will be recognized for their unselfish contributions to this community during lunch. The event will be held at Santee Electric Cooperative and tickets will be available in April. We hope you will put the date on your calendar.

In 1978, as a young woman and a new employee, I discovered quickly that the work world was primarily a man’s domain and there was no equality. The women I worked with had good jobs, but as a rule, the men were in charge. In order to move up the ladder, women had to work harder, be smarter and better educated than the average male employee. Perhaps it’s fair to say women understood they could not just be equal with male co-workers, rather, they had to have more ambition, determination and drive to win a place at the top, and often that did not even work.  For the record, there is no malice in this statement, that is just the way it was.  And I should not even mention that women added childbearing and family management to their plate while striving to be successful in the workplace. Apparently, the blond bombshell in the 1950’s was on target with her quote.

As we prepare for the Professional Women’s Luncheon, be assured there are countless women in this community who work diligently every day in a job outside the home.  Most women will never be recognized for what they do, but today allow me to share one local woman’s contribution to our community. This person is fearless, proficient, and passionate about her work in Williamsburg County. In fact, I would dare say, she has more knowledge about county government, the school system, local municipalities, recent homicides and people than anyone else. We all have some information about certain topics, but this professional woman’s awareness is wide-ranging. It’s because Michaele Duke is everywhere and talks with everyone so that she can report the news to our community with only a weekly paper and social media. More importantly, Michaele is not competing with other news outlets or reporters, rather she just wants to do a good job and help local citizens know the truth about key issues. For instance, the recent article on the Ecovillage included comments from a State Representative, the Economic Development Director, and the Sierra Club of South Carolina, in an effort to obtain the facts. Her reporting is researched and based on information, not on personal agendas.  Michaele may have an opinion but offers details that gives the reader the opportunity to make their own judgment. In addition, most citizens had no clue that the school board could possibly regain its power until Michaele wrote a column on February 19. The article was the perfect reminder to parents and the community of past experiences with the problematic school board and notification that Mr. Darby is still the chairman of the board.

Besides keeping the community informed on important issues, Michaele is active in supporting local events.  She runs for leadership, cancer awareness, and other causes. A love for this county encourages her to promote litter reduction and beautification.  Michaele supports school athletics and youth opportunities.  Her photography captures the simple beauty of our county and she remains a dedicated supporter of industry and business. Michaele Duke will even perform on stage to support the community. This county probably does not appreciate Michaele enough, but be certain, we would all miss her if she was not covering the news. Michaele may not be a blond bombshell, but she surely has the ambition and ability to out talk, out work, and out -shoot any man or woman in this county… including Mac.