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Lackey honored with legacy bench

Posted: June 21, 2018 4:57 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Richard Lackey (sitting, center) is surrounded by his extended family, including several children and grandchildren and their spouses and four great-grandchildren following a ceremony dedicating a Leaders Legacy bench in his honor at Monument Square on June 14.

Not quite a week after he had lauded his friend and fellow American Legion member, Perry McCoy, during a city of Camden Leaders Legacy bench dedication, Richard “Dick” Lackey returned to Monument Square on June 14 to receive the same honor.

Camden City Manager Mel Pearson remarked that he has been in Camden for more than 30 years and, during the last six, had come to respect Lackey.

“He is one of those people who will sit with me at city hall -- sometimes with a complaint -- but he has a way of making you feel good, even when you’ve done something wrong. Not that we ever do anything wrong at city hall,” Pearson joked.

Pearson called Lackey a “partner” and thanked him for his contributions.

Lackey’s long-time neighbor, Roger Smoak, said when he came to Camden 47 years ago, he “never thought” he would become “not just best friends, but family” with Lackey and his family.

Later during the ceremony, Smoak’s son, City Councilman Stephen Smoak, called Lackey “more than a friend, more than a neighbor” for 20 years. He also joked that it took some people a long time to realize Dick Lackey and Richard Lackey were the same person.

“We talk about the ‘Greatest Generation’ as being those who served in World War II, but I think we need to extend that a few more decades with our DuPont employees,” Councilman Smoak said, pointing out that Lackey was one of those “DuPonters” who came to Camden and “added value to the community by raising a family, including four great-grandchildren.”

Smoak noted that, like McCoy, Lackey has a long-time association with American Legion Post 17, including a stint as commander.

“And he’s still active, and we can’t thank them enough for their service,” he said.

Smoak described Lackey as one of the “founding fathers” of the formerly joint Camden-Kershaw County Recreation Commission, serving as its first chairman. He said Lackey has also been an advisor to the Kershaw County School District, adding his wisdom in that arena and many others.

Smoak also noted that Lackey’s bench is right next to McCoy’s on the western edge of Monument Square.

“Last week, Jim McGuirt called Mr. McCoy a ‘silent icon,’” Smoak said. “That can be said of Richard Lackey. You may not see his picture in the paper often, but he gets things done.”

McGuirt also spoke at Lackey’s bench dedication revealing he had stayed up all the previous night thinking about what to say about his friend.

“He graduated from Clemson University, but he loves chickens,” McGuirt said, adding that during Lackey’s time at DuPont, he won an engineering award while serving the company on the local, regional, national and even international levels.

He said that Lackey has also been a member of the Camden Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County, an advisory board for the Applied Technology Education Campus, and, of course, the American Legion, being recognized at least once as Legionnaire of the Year.

Earlier during the ceremony, Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said that Lackey has, for 50 years, “been a great asset” to both the city and Kershaw County.

“I got to know him at DuPont,” Drakeford said, and quoted Lackey as once telling her, “I love trying to do what I can to make this community great.”

She also said Lackey provided input to VisionKershaw 2030.

At the end of the ceremony, Lackey addressed those who had gathered to honor him by pondering on the word “legacy.”

“It can be a lot of things, good and bad. It can be something of value,” Lackey said, counting his family as part of his personal legacy. “They’re almost all here, including my granddaughter and her two sons from West Virginia. My extended family … they’re important to me.”

He called his wife, Joann, a “wonderful mother” and “a treasure.”

And, Lackey said, the bench should be dedicated to more people than just him.

“I can look into this crowd and see the faces of people who actually got stuff done,” he said. “I was just there, nudging things along. There are people who made a real difference in this town. So, this is partially for everyone sitting here today and those who have gone before. I chose to come here 50 years ago because I knew it was a great place, and I’ve never been disappointed. I feel really blessed for living here.”


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