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Yesteryear for July 23, 2014

20 YEARS AGO -- July 17-23, 1994

Posted: July 22, 2014 7:31 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Camden native helps rescue Haitians with USCG

The scenes being beamed into American homes each night from the waters off Haiti are not pretty, and they are even more striking from the deck of a Coast Guard cutter, said a veteran of the ongoing rescue operation.

Joey Chavis, a Camden native and a seaman’s apprentice with the U.S. Coast Guard, has spent a total of 14 weeks off the shores of Haiti. He helped in rescuing those trying to escape the country’s political upheaval and transporting them to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He will return to duty there Aug. 15.

Chavis said his current assignment is quite different from what other guardsmen saw as recently as a year ago, when Guard cutters saw as few as two or three boatloads last summer attempting to escape Haiti.

Now, however, he said things are much worse.

“I was on 4-to-8 a.m. watch, so it was dark most of the time,” he said. “When the sun finally came up, we could see we were surrounded by about 18 sailboats full of people.”

In a single day, Chavis and his ship, USCG Escape, has come upon as many as 900 refugees at a time, most packed 300 people to a 70-foot boat. Often they are not prepared to handle so many people at once, bringing out the worst in human behavior, he said.

“We had one man who tried to drown a baby to get a life jacket,” he said. “I feel real sorry for the kids and all, but out of 900 people, we’ve only had two or three bad ones. It’s hard to think about all these people being killed if they go back, and it’s pretty unreal how a 70-foot boat can hold 300 people.”

Wrestler Benjamin Connell has trouble finding competition his own age

People will tell you that it’s lonely at the top. Nobody can describe that feeling any better than Benjamin Connell of Lugoff.

Connell, a 12 year-old, won both the state and regional freestyle wrestling championships without ever taking to the mat for a contest. Through no fault of his own, the 5-10, 190-pounder couldn’t take on anybody his own size and his own age.

After winning the state event at Spring Valley High School, Connell prepared himself for  the Southeastern Regional Championship at Davidson College in Charlotte. He made the trip anxious to wrestle, but once again, he found no competition.

“I thought I was (going to wrestle),” he said of the meet at Davidson. “Out of all the Southeast, I thought I’d have somebody to wrestle against, but there wasn’t.”

Connell admitted he was disappointed in not getting a chance to take the mat. The again, maybe it was in the best interest of the possible opponent that they didn’t take the mat against Connell.

“I got there (to Davidson) and I couldn’t wrestle anybody because they didn’t have exhibition matches,” he said.

Educators and community share ideas on molding good character

Teaching good character in the classroom will benefit both kids and society, according to a group of parents, teachers, school administrators and citizens who met Thursday evening to voice their ideas on the subject.

About 35 Kershaw County residents heard from panelists before breaking in to small groups in Lugoff-Elgin High School’s cafeteria, During the brain storming session, citizens discussed their own values as well as methods for schools to instill these beliefs in students. Ideas were recorded and will be reviewed by the S.C. Board of Education after similar discussions occur across the state.

Meeting at the grassroots level and determining what citizens want for children is the best way to implement a character education program, said Harry Dent, the chairman of the character education committee.

“These are your children, your community, your culture and your people,” he told the group.

4H riding team earns ribbons at state show

4H stands for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The Kershaw County 4H Equestrian team put these faculties together to become winners at the recent 4H State Horse Show.

The annual competition, held at the state fairgrounds, is the high spot on the 4H Horse Club’s calendar. Members work all year to ready themselves for classes from hunter over fences to equitation to showmanship to dressage.

“It’s much more than just a riding competition,” Becky Allen, KC 4H Club volunteer leader, said. “It’s a testimony to their dedication to the sport. It’s an opportunity to showcase the talents they’ve developed throughout the year.”


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