Click here to visit The Hartsville News Journal
Florence News Journal | Florence, SC

Find more about Weather in Florence, SC
Click for weather forecast

weather sponsored by
Crown Beverage

Advanced Search
search sponsored by

• Real Estate

• Shoppers Guide

• Bridal Forms
Do You Remember?

Good Life
• Bridal News
Life and Style
• Dollar Stretcher
• Place An Ad
Florence Living

home : opinions : opinions December 17, 2014

10/23/2013 8:57:00 AM
State Guard trains to help communities

Richard Eckstrom
a CPA, is the comptroller general of South Carolina and commander of the S. C. State Guard.

Here in South Carolina,  where we are relieved to be  nearing the end of another  quiet hurricane season, we  recently witnessed the  destructive force of torrential  rainfalls.

Almost as devastating as  the physical property loss in  a flood is the emotional  impact of seeing your home  damaged or destroyed.  We’ve all seen these tragic  stories on TV: home  improvement projects ruined  and washed away, priceless  family photos and heirlooms  lost, and on and on.

It’s times like these when  helping hands mean so  much, and I’m proud to share  just such a story that  recently unfolded in the  Upstate.

You may recall, and definitely  you will recall if you live  in the region, the northwestern  part of South Carolina  experienced a couple days of  torrential rainfall in mid-July.  A weather system had  stalled over the Upstate,  hanging on like a stubborn  summer cold, and dumped  drenching rains.

It didn’t take long for the  ground to saturate, rivers  and creeks to fill and then  overflow, creating floods that  swamped many homes,  some with as much as 4 feet  of water. Some residents  were forced to evacuate.

As the waters receded,  helping hands from the S. C.  State Guard arrived. State  Guard members are your  neighbors and they’re volunteers  who receive no pay for  the services they perform.

In this particular crisis,  members of the State  Guard’s newly-formed Engineering  Detachment  responded in a section of the  Upstate that had suffered  the brunt of the flooding.  These highly-skilled professional  engineers arrived to  assess structural damage.

Maj. George McCall,  Capt. Lee Genoble and 1st  Lt. Bill Sykes, all State  Guard engineers residing in  Greenville County, took on  the task.

Maj. McCall, the team  leader and officer in charge  of the State Guard’s Engineering  Detachment,  described the events in the  latest quarterly edition of the  S. C. Military Department’s  newsletter:

“Once we received the  call for assistance, we  quickly assembled our team  and mobilized on site,” Maj.  McCall said. “Having already  established a great working  relationship with emergency  management personnel in  Greenville County, we were  able to react quickly to  seamlessly work alongside  local authorities.”

Local officials and grateful  homeowners accompanied  the State Guard members as  they evaluated flooded residences.  The engineers documented  that six homes had  sustained damage equaling  more than 50 percent of their  value. One of the six had  been rendered uninhabitable.

Many other homes also  were damaged, but not as  badly. Some lost air conditioning  systems that had  been in crawl spaces. “The  water rose so fast and with  such force that the community  was lucky more extensive  damage didn’t occur,”  Maj. McCall said.

This is the kind of selfless  and often unheralded work  that the State Guard performs  all across South Carolina.

Please allow me to say,  as commander of the State  Guard, that I take great pride  in all of the devoted volunteers  who fill our ranks.

Some 850 members  strong, they are unpaid, citizen  volunteers –men and  women, old and young –who  stand ready at a moment’s  notice to apply their training  and skills in responding to  natural or manmade disasters.

An arm of the S. C. Military  Department, the State  Guard trains constantly to  protect lives and property.

In late September we  conducted our annual “Hurricane  Hike,” a voluntary training  event to deliver relief  supplies on foot in case  major storms make streets  and roads impassable by  vehicle. About 150 State  Guard members and  prospective members participated,  each hauling 45  pounds in military backpacks.  The hike covered 9.3  miles (15 km) through hilly  streets and roads in the  Camden area, including segments  covered by South  Carolina militiamen while battling  invading forces during  the Revolutionary War.

I know that we all face  lots of demands on our time.  But I also know we live in  communities that often face  unexpected threats. If you’re  looking for a truly rewarding  experience –one that can  help fulfill a desire to serve  your fellow citizens –I highly  encourage you to look into  joining us in the State Guard.

You can find out how by  calling (803) 299-4238 or toll  free at (866) 238-3181, or by  visiting our website at

If you provide a sound  body and willing heart, we’ll  provide the uniforms and  equipment.

Galloway Mosley
Powered by 72dpi

312 Railroad Ave. • Florence, SC 29506
843.667.9656 •

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved