City of Laurens Recognizes Deserving Citizens at State of the City Address

February 8, 2023

On Tuesday evening, February 7, 2023, the Palmetto Room in Downtown Laurens filled with city employees, business owners and citizens to hear the second annual State of the City address from Mayor Nathan Senn.

The program for the evening included two components: presentation of awards and Mayor Senn’s address to the city.

This article will focus on the community awards. Look for part two next week.

After a brief welcome by master of ceremony Phillip Sessions, presentation of the colors and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the awards ceremony began.

“I’ve always felt like there are formal things we must do as a city, but there are also things we can do to make this a better place.  One of those things we can and should do is to honor those folks who are doing exemplary things and serving in exemplary ways,” said Mayor Nathan Senn.  “The State of the City isn’t just about the work of the mayor or his administration.  It’s an opportunity to show our appreciation for the goodness we see in our city.”

The awards presented include:

  • The Quincy Cook Volunteer of the Year Award
  • The Corporate Citizen Award
  • The Servant Leader Award
  • The Community Spirit Award

The awards emphasize and recognize the service, collaboration, and good work being done across our community by people who truly care. The work of committed local residents as volunteers enhances and supports the efforts of city leaders and their team.

The Quincy Cook Volunteer of the Year

The definition of a volunteer is – one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest. This definition falls short of describing the unselfish concern and effort that is conveyed for others by those who volunteer.

Laurens is blessed to have many who volunteer in many different areas of service.

This year, the Quincy Cook Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Richard Heisey for his service to the youth as a coach, mentor, and trusted advisor.

The award was presented to him by the Director of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department, Jason Pridgen.

“We are so grateful for the guidance and mentorship that folks like Richard Heisey give our kids,” said Mayor Senn. “Volunteering for youth sports is a great way to help shape the future of our community, and I’m grateful for Mr. Heisey for all his effort and time to support our kids.”

The Corporate Citizen Award

Small businesses across the city improve everyone’s quality of life, so many local businesses have made it their mission to give back.

The Corporate Citizen Award recognize the efforts of individual businesses demonstrating extraordinary commitment to the community. This year, the Corporate Citizen Award was presented to Wes Meetze of Palmetto Brothers Dispensary.

Palmetto Brothers Dispensary has connected with the residents of Laurens since they day they opened. They have worked with fellow merchants and restaurants to create a reason for Laurens residents to stay in town on Friday nights. Their events on other nights are fun and engaging but they have done so much more.

Last year, when Roma Restaurant experienced a break-in that resulted in damages to their front entrance Palmetto Brothers Dispensary immediately took action. They created a pizza eating contest to raise money for Roma’s repairs. Their loyal patrons responded and the proceeds from the very successful event were given to Roma’s.

Palmetto Brothers owner Wes Meetze embodies character that is worthy of recognition as the Corporate Citizen of the year.

“Wes Meetze is a true friend of this city and his fellow merchants.  He has shown how using his business as a platform to improve the quality of life in our community is not only good for our residents, it’s good business,” said Mayor Senn. “We’ve enjoyed partnering with him, and we look forward to working together on some great events in future!”

The Servant Leader Award

The Servant Leader Award is presented to an individual who embodies the values and qualities desired in the City of Laurens, someone who works to serve others not for the recognition but to provide solutions and improve the lives of those they serve.

This year’s recipient of the Servant Leader Award is Councilor Cassandra Campbell. Since taking office in 2020, Campbell has used her position on City Council to benefit the members of her community and residents across the city.  She has organized numerous community information meetings, participated in vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and working with the mayor, and city staff, played a major role in planning and staging the first ever official celebration of Juneteenth in the City of Laurens. Her dedication to her faith, family, and her service to the people of Laurens is second to none.

“Councilor Campbell is truly a model of thoughtful, kind servant leadership.  While others like to talk about their leadership and boast about what a stand they’re taking, they actually get little to nothing accomplished,” said Mayor Senn. “On the other hand, Ms. Campbell works behind the scenes, asks hard questions, and motivates others through cooperation and civility.  She’s a faithful leader and a true partner in getting things done for the city.”

The Community Spirit Award

The Community Spirit Award is intended to recognize those who have contributed to building unity, encouraging good citizenship, and promoting the overall welfare of the city through volunteer work or charitable activities.

The award winner for “community spirit” is no stranger to citizens of Laurens and many acrose Laurens County.

American Legion Post 25 is one of the most active, helpful, and charitable organizations in Laurens County. Their efforts throughout the community are hard to measure but a few examples include helping the Police Department control traffic during special events, cleaning up a cemetery, building a ramp for a disabled senior, collecting toys for children and food for the hungry. Not to go unmentioned would be the countless times they serve as color guard for special events including at the State of the City.

Post Commander, Jim Peterson and member Lynn Boyd were the recipients of the Community Spirit Award for their leadership in the organization and service of invaluable programs touching the lives of so many.

“Commander Peterson and Lynn Boyd are exactly the type of people that every small town wishes they could have.  Their leadership to build the American Legion as a force for good in the community is a huge part of why that organization has such goodwill,” said Mayor Senn. “We benefit from that cooperation as a city, and it was a pleasure to see these two wonderful folks receiving recognition for all their hard work.”

Congratulations to these worthy award recipients. They make life in Laurens even better.

Stay tuned for part two of our report on the State of the City next week. Much more to come!