Orangeburg County Character Pack recognized for diligence
June 30, 2017 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer
Orangeburg County employees are putting character first with their own initiative designed to promote values that aid in helping their jobs run smoother and making the community a better place to live.
Food drives, literacy campaigns and the donation of fruit baskets to seniors, school supplies to children and needed items for crime victims are some of the activities the Orangeburg County Character Pack has undertaken since its 2006 inception.
In addition, the initiative recognizes county employees who demonstrate the monthly character trait as determined by the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative, whose goals the Pack also supports.
The Pack’s commitment to instilling the character needed to improve county operations and the quality of life has led to its designation as the exemplification of diligence for the month of June as part of the OCCOC initiative.
Lovell Brothers, chairperson of the Orangeburg County Character Pack, said it was both shocking and exciting to be recognized for work its members simply consider the right thing to do.
“Over the years that I’ve served as their chairperson and we’ve worked together, we have never looked at this work as being something that we expect to have accolades for. We just work because we love character and know it is very important in the workforce,” Brothers said.
The Orangeburg County Character Pack began with 30 members and now involves approximately 15 members. The group meets bi-monthly and is governed by an executive committee. Its work has been described as a model for other businesses to follow in showing support for the OCCOC.
“We’ve had some members to retire, we’ve had some that are no longer employees here and then we have others whose jobs have added more to their schedule and they just haven’t been able to be a part of the group,” but they still provide any assistance the group may need, Brothers said.
Pack Vice Chairperson Aurora Smalls said an Employee of the Month is selected from nominees submitted by all county departments. An annual character employee calendar is also published to recognize those employees who have put character first in their day-to-day work duties for each month.
Winners areceive a medallion, recognition at county council meetings and participation in a luncheon held every six months. All nominees are given a certificate and are represented at the luncheon.
An attractive County Employee Recognition Board displaying the year’s character honorees is located inside the Orangeburg County Administrative Building on Amelia Street.
Smalls said, “It’s about being diligent when so many people around you can be so negative. When you’re working and sometimes people just get discouraged, you just have to pull them back on track and say, ‘Hey, this is our goal. This is what we’re going to do.’ It is so much easier when you work together.”
“From 2006 to 2017, we have had 101 monthly nominees, five group nominees, two dual nominees and 27 Citizen of the Month honorees," Brothers said. "We honor these nominees several different ways.”
County Deputy Administrator Marion Lloyd said, “The commitment of the county to stay focused on character is a key component of diligence.”
Lloyd said the county always supported the OCCOC even before the creation of its own Character Pack, which continued that organization's mission and goals within the county group.
“I can really go back to former County Administrator Donnie Hilliard during the time he was on the Community of Character board and supported the initiative very strongly. Bill Clark became administrator after that and organized several different packs within the county organization during his administration,” Lloyd said.
The Character Pack is the sole survivor of those, a testament to the county’s focus on character, he said.
“Mr. Clark preferred the terms packs instead of committees. His reasoning goes back to a poem by Rudolph Kipling, ‘The Law of the Jungle,’ that referred to the strength of a pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack. So along those lines, he was looking at bringing the individual skill set of the employees within the organization together and working together as a team. From there, current County Administrator Harold Young has been supportive of the Orangeburg County Character Pack and the Community of Character initiative” Lloyd said.
"We have to be consistent in what we’re doing and how we do it. It has played a major part in this pack,” Brothers said, adding that reading stories about good character to children is another of the group's activities.
“We invited several speakers, even character trait winners, to come and read a story on character to children at Swift Book Store. Once the story had been read, questions were asked and they discussed the character trait. We’re in the process of starting it up again,” she said.
The Character Pack has also donated fruit baskets to senior citizens through the Orangeburg County Council on Aging; sent coupons to military troops serving overseas; provided shoe boxes filled with toiletries, children's items and other supplies for needy victims; donated school supplies to support Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five's Annual Back to School Bash and donated canned goods to the Salvation Army.
Brothers said two new initiatives include a Filling Station to assist with summer food donations for students and Christmas Around the World, a faith-based program where the Christmas story and lessons on good character will be shared with children.
“We try to keep all of the character traits in the forefront in the county employees’ day-to-day work schedule," Lloyd said. "The county wants to be at the forefront as far as exemplifying them.”