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City honors Green brothers

Posted: March 19, 2018 4:07 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

With 32 members of his family surrounding him, H. Davis Green (front row, fourth from left) sits on the Leaders Legacy bench dedicated to him and his late brother, James “Jimmy” Green following a well-attended ceremony Friday afternoon. The brothers both served on Kershaw County Council, with Jimmy Green also serving two terms on Camden City Council. The city honored the Greens for their many contributions to the community.

By the time the last picture was taken in Rectory Square on Friday afternoon, 32 members of the Green family had joined H. Davis Green on or around the bench dedicated to him and his brother, the late James D. “Jimmy” Green.

The bench -- the latest of about 25 Leaders Legacy benches to be installed around the city -- is under a tree toward the Fair Street side of the park not too far from some playground equipment. It is dedicated to the brothers for their “significant contributions to the Camden community.”

City Manager Mel Pearson opened the program by calling the Greens “a wonderful family and a couple of fine fellows who have made a lot of contributions to the community, not just Camden, but the county and, in many ways, the Midlands.”

Following an invocation from Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church Pastor Steve Patterson, City Councilwoman Deborah Davis said Camden was built on the contributions of many citizens, past and present.

“And we continue to be shaped and molded by our residents like you,” Davis said, which is why, she said, the city began the Leaders Legacy bench program several years ago.

Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford noted that the Greens are life-long residents of Camden.

Davis Green, she said, served as president of the Kiwanis Club, president of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church, and founding member of the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments.

“And it is still growing strong right now; we thank you so much for that,” Drakeford said.

She noted that Davis Green also served as president of the Camden High School Bulldog Club. In addition, he served on Kershaw County Council for 12 years.

“For his years of service and dedication to Kershaw County and the city of Camden, we have been so honored,” Drakeford said.

Of Jimmy Green, Drakeford noted he was elected to city council for two terms beginning in 1992.

“During this time, he was part of the implementation of Phase I of the downtown revitalization program and the historic landmark commission,” she said. “He also served on Kershaw County Council, was past president of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Kershaw County and the Rotary.”

Drakeford said he was also a past president of the South Carolina Board of Education and a charter member of the Camden Sertoma Club.

“So, we are here today because the Green brothers have been fruitful, faithful, progressive leaders in our community. We are thankful for their many years of service and proud to recognize them here today,” Drakeford concluded.

Davis Green’s son, Hank, said he had a hard time coming up with what to say about his father because “what do you say when you don’t need to say anything at all.”

“The body of work for these two community leaders stands -- it doesn’t need anyone to stand up here and boast of their accomplishments,” he said.

Hank Green, however, did talk about his father and uncle’s work, their contributions and love for their families.

“Of course, his being treasurer of Lyttleton Street church that we mentioned -- just to mention it like that is kind of understated,” he said. “I think that’s why my sister, Margaret is a partner here with Price Waterhouse these days. (He’d) have the books on the table, going through the numbers at our house. He did for that many years.”

Hank Green said his father was a champion of effective, professional public administration while on county council, along with economic development and intergovernmental cooperation.

“As I was thinking this week of what I’d like to say about Dad, my thoughts always drifted back to Dad and Jimmy -- our families always being together and the community work they did together. It’s appropriate that they are honoring them with this bench together, this way,” Hank Green said.

He said that while neither his father nor uncle were “big boasters,” they did like to like to talk a bit, especially about their respective grandchildren. Hank Green also said the city and county were “growing by leaps and bounds” while they served on councils.

“The city and the county were moving, and moving in the right direction under their leadership,” he said. “They supported smart growth and were big thinkers. They wanted what was best for their local community and Kershaw County.”

Hank Green said that started with their own families, beginning with their wives.

“It’s really amazing what these two brothers have accomplished for the city and the county government. They were very driven in their support for their families and their surrounding communities,” he said.

One memory he recounted was from when he was a child. No matter where they were, whether in a store or just walking down the street, someone would always pull Davis Green over to the side to talk.

“So, when I got back over to him, I would say, ‘What are you all talking about? I’m ready to go.’ He’d say, ‘Well, people just like to talk trash.’ And a lot of times it was about the trash in the yard or the backyard, or they were just complaining,” Hank Green recalled.

He said his father and uncle treated their families and community the same. He jokingly called the new bench a “workout bench,” explaining that he is part of a group called “F3,” which stands for “fitness, fellowship and faith.”

“We meet out here in the early gloom of the morning as the sun’s about to break, and now I’ll be able to come over to this bench … and have my morning devotional with two of my heroes,” Hank Green finished.

Jimmy Davis’ son, Jay, noted that the bench dedication was supposed to be held in July 2017.

“Dad was aware of the event, and humbled by it. I know Dad is looking down today with a big smile on his face that his family and friends are here on this beautiful afternoon,” Jay Green said.

He said despite, or perhaps, because his father and uncle were close in age, they had a unique, close relationship between whom Jay Green said he never saw any discord.

“Davis and Jimmy were raised by working class parents who instilled in their two sons a work ethic, the importance of an education and service to their community,” he said. “Jimmy and Davis both made two wise decisions: my dad married my mother, Primrose, and Davis married my aunt, Gigi, who happen to be first cousins. So, you give credit to Jimmy and Davis for being pretty smart to pick from that flock.”

Jay Green said his mother and aunt gave his father and uncle the support they needed to participate in civic groups, church and government.

He called his father, a “quiet, but effective leader.”

“He had a genuine interest in participating and contributing to making the community a better place. Dad was a very analytical and deliberate thinker. Sometimes, his deliberations could drag on longer than some of us would like, perhaps, but Dad was a wide ranging thinker. He could take a situation or problem and see it from many different angles and then think through the best solution to solve it. He was the best at that I’ve ever seen,” Jay Green said.

He said his father was fond of his two terms on city council, especially when it came to working on major infrastructure improvements, including the city’s water supply.

“A new water treatment plant was on the table. It required a significant financial investment on the part of the city,” Jay Green said. “I recall Dad spending an inordinate amount of time around that project analyzing the pros and cons and the economic costs and benefits associated with it. It was a major economic decision and it laid the groundwork for many years to come to supplying increased water capacity not only to the city, but surrounding areas. It was an accomplishment that he was very proud to have been a part of.”

Jay Green said his father fondly remembered working with various members, past and still present, of staff and council at Camden City Hall.

“This bench recognizes the contributions made by two fantastic role models, both professionally and personally,” he said. “They cared deeply and genuinely for this community and demonstrated by their actions and the time spent serving and participating in making Camden and Kershaw County a better place for all of its citizens.”

On behalf of the entire Green family, Jay Green concluded by thanking all those who were present for Thursday’s ceremony.

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