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Davis receives DAR Good Citizen Award

Posted: May 2, 2013 5:24 p.m.
Updated: May 3, 2013 5:00 a.m.
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Recipient of the DAR’s Good Citizen Award, Sarah Davis (right) with DAR committee chair Ponza Vaughan (left) at the ceremony April 11. Davis received the award due to her excellence in community service regarding the historic preservation in the Camden area.

 Since moving to Camden with her husband, Mike, in 1986, Sarah Davis has been an active member in not only the local but also the statewide historical preservation community. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) rewarded her efforts April 11, presenting her with its Good Citizen Award for her “excellence in community service.”

The Hobkirk Hill Chapter of the DAR presented the award saying “it is most rewarding to recognize Sarah Davis with the Community Service Award for her outstanding works for many years in the area of historic preservation to preserve the past, to enhance the present and to invest in the future.”

The DAR prides itself in its mission “to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism,” which is why Davis was chosen as this year’s recipient. Every year, each chapter has the opportunity to nominate candidates, said Ponza Vaughan, committee chair. Vaughan said they choose nominations by selecting “outstanding volunteers.”

“In Camden, we always have worthy volunteers,” Vaughan said.

David said the award was a surprise, thinking she was attending the DAR meeting to listen to author Miles Gardner of “Murder and Mayhem in Old Kershaw” speak. Little did Davis know that her son had flown in from Louisiana for the event along with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren from Columbia. Also in attendance were State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk as well as members of Camden City Council and Camden Historic Landmarks Commission (CHLC), of which she was once chair.

Letters of recommendation were written to the National DAR by former Camden Mayor Mary Clark; Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation; and Nancy Tucker, co-founder of HisToury Inc., which once offered tours of Camden’s historic homes and sites.

“Sarah is a person who sees a need and does not wait for someone else to correct that need,” Clark said. “Historic preservation in our city had declined for quite some time. Sarah saw that need and began a crusade that is still ongoing to restore ‘history’ to our longtime trademark of ‘History, Horses and Hospitality.’”

Bedenbaugh shared Clark’s sentiments and directly related the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation’s becoming a leading advocate in preservation and property development to “Sarah’s guiding hand in the development of our organization’s outreach and fundraising.”

“With Sarah leading the way, we have raised almost $400,000 to support our Endangered Places Program in the past five years. This funding has led directly to the rehabilitation of dozens of historic properties that would have been lost otherwise,” Bedenbaugh said.

Along with newly being recognized for her excellence in community service by the DAR, Davis has also received a number of awards in past years for her work in historic preservation. In 2003, Davis was awarded the President’s Award by the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and in 2005 received the Palmetto Trust Board Member Special Recognition. Davis was also a recipient in 2011 of the Lucille Hallman Heritage Heroes Award by the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission.

Davis’s involvement in the community isn’t a minuscule list by any means. Davis, along with Tucker and Mary Tatum, co-founded HisToury Inc. during Davis’ first years in Camden. Beginning in the late 1980s, Davis served two three-year terms on the S.C. Olde English Tourism District board, appointed by Kershaw County Council. Throughout the ’90s, Davis served as a chamber board member and as its vice president of tourism.

From its beginning in 1993 to its dissolution by Camden City Council in 1999, Davis served as chair of the CHLC. When the commission was reinstated, Davis served as chairman from 2001 to 2004 and again from 2007 to 2009. During her time with the CHLC, Davis drafted a preservation ordinance for the protection of Camden’s historic homes, neighborhoods and sites. In 1993, she was present for council’s acceptance of Camden’s first Historic Preservation Overlay Ordinance. Davis also assisted in the process and final designation by council of Camden’s three historic neighborhood districts: Kirkwood, Logtown and Sarsfield.

Since 1993, Davis has served as a board member of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, the state’s preservation organization and direct link to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Davis has served as a member on the Palmetto Trust’s executive board since 2008. She has also recently been appointed to the Kershaw County Accommodations Tax Committee, with her term lasting until 2015.

“The consideration and nomination by Camden’s DAR chapter for this award is, in itself, very humbling, but to actually be awarded this honor is inconceivable -- something I could not ever have imagined being worthy of receiving,” Davis said.

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