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City honors Sarah Reed with Leaders Legacy bench
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Sarah Reed (center) is joined by her husband, Al (left), and brother, Spencer Johnson, on the Leaders Legacy bench the city of Camden dedicated in her honor Wednesday afternoon at Kirkwood Common. The city recognized Reed for her contributions on the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County’s board of directors and for organizing the annual attic sale for the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Sarah Reed, a long-time Camden resident originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., received one of the city of Camden’s top honors Wednesday: having a Leaders Legacy bench dedicated in her name at Kirkwood Common. The city honored her for her service on the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County’s board of directors and her work with the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County’s (CMCKC) attic sales. Appropriately enough, the most recent attic sale took place just days before the honor at Kirkwood Common.

“Our research -- and anybody is welcome to check it -- indicates that in the last 10 years, the attic sale alone has raised $107,589.22 and, yes, this includes the proceeds from last weekend,” CMCKC Board Member Roy Fakoury said.

He explained that those donations actually translate by a multiple of 12 to provide more than $1.29 million worth of services through the clinic.

“Let me tell you what Sarah and her friends understand: that $5 shirt is $60 in healthcare services; that $10 dress that you buy is $120 in healthcare services … so it matters,” Fakoury said. “Sarah, on behalf of everybody who’s volunteered to be a staff member at the clinic and the board of directors -- past, present and future -- and on behalf of everyone who’s benefitted from these resources, thank you.”

Even with that “thank you,” Fakoury added one more, passed on to him by a CMCKC patient who said, “Hope to me is, one day, I won’t have to worry about being sick. I thank God for everybody here at the clinic; if it wasn’t for the clinic, I don’t know where I would be or what I would do. God, continue to bless this place of hope, healing and happiness.”

Reed thanked those present and the city for the recognition, and accepted it on behalf of the “Attic Sale Team.” She named the members of that team, asking them to stand. Nearly a dozen of those she named were on hand and, indeed, stood when she called them out.

“They have worked tirelessly to raise money for the Community Medical Clinic,” Reed said, adding extra thanks to her husband, Al, for being “the wind beneath my wings. He keeps me afloat.”

She said it has been exciting and rewarding to see the clinic grow from a two-room facility with one and a half employees to a free-standing clinic with many volunteers.

“It’s been a pleasure to see nurse practitioners join first as volunteers. Now they are in our schools, they’re in the wellness program developed to go into rural areas. The clinic has developed an alliance with nursing schools of South Carolina to be in schools and that’s more exciting to me than anything else,” Reed said.

She said she was especially happy to have helped bring a mental health component to the clinic’s services.

“And to see it now continue in our schools, where the anxiety and the depression among the high school students has really plummeted,” she said.

Reed ended by talking about how welcomed she felt when she and her husband moved to Camden upon Al’s retirement and that it was great to find that people here are passionate about “helping people; rescuing dogs, cats, horses; beautifying the city; supporting family or any other worthy endeavor -- there’s no better place than Camden.”

Reed’s brother, Spencer Johnson, got up for a few minutes and said that, on behalf of the entire family, they could not be prouder of his sister’s accomplishments. He also, however, told a story about a very young Sarah and a particular party their mother hosted.

“The year is 1945. My father was in the navy. We lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn, New York, on Shore Road. From the front window of our apartment, you could see the ships that had been sailing from Europe. My mother was a nurse,” Johnson said by way of introduction. “One day, when Sarah was 3, my mother gave a bridge party, and all of her friends, bridge players, assembled. Sarah was dressed in her very best ‘Sunday go to meeting’ dress. Everything went very well. Mother couldn’t have been prouder as Sarah began to serve her guests with glasses of water, until my mother realized she was not tall enough to reach the sink.

“I think your imaginations are quite true,” he concluded, as those on hand laughed uproariously, realizing where Sarah must have gotten the water from a source that wasn’t a sink or tub.

With that, Camden Urban Forester Liz Gilland wrapped up the program by again thanking Reed for her contributions and inviting those on hand to enjoy some refreshments and to take pictures at Reed’s bench on the other side of Kirkwood Common pond.