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Helping Hands

  • Monday, December 30, 2013

Photo provided



Firewise Council member for Camden Creek at Allston Plantation


Native of Staten Island, N.Y.

Registered nurse for 35 years, retired

Pawleys Island resident

Volunteer nurse at Smith Medical Clinic in Pawleys Island

The Firewise program is a nationwide initiative that recognizes communities for taking action to protect people and properties from the risk of fire in the wildland/urban interface.

This program is of special interest to small communities and neighborhood associations that are willing to mitigate against wildfire by adopting and implementing programs tailored to their needs.

The communities create the programs themselves with cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire agencies.

Communities interested in earning recognition may visit www.firewise.org/usa for more information.

How did you become a Firewise Council member?

The Camden Creek at Allston Plantation Board of Directors were interested in having the program in our community and they asked me to do it.

I decided to take that challenge because I saw the danger what wildfires could cause.

If there was anything we could do to protect our neighborhood, I thought we should do it.

Can you tell me about your community’s recognition?

On Jan. 8, the South Carolina Forestry Commission will present the Camden Creek at Allston Plantation Board of Directors with a plaque that states we achieved Firewise Communities/USA status. To receive that, we had certain criteria we had to meet.

We had to develop a Firewise Council and that is made up of Kyle Brown, Tom Wywrot, my husband, Bill Shea, and myself.

What has the Council done so far?

We met several times to review the state’s recommended wildfire protection plan.

Then we worked with the Board and the Facility and Landscaping Committee to develop a plan of action.

We also held a Firewise Education Day to educate the entire community.

We invited members of Midway Fire and Rescue and the S.C. Forestry Commission set up a tent with a lot of information.

We also had local vendors like Ace Hardware that demonstrated different hoses and fire extinguishers — anything related to putting out a fire.

True Blue Nursery also came and talked about different types of shrubs, ground cover and mulches that are best for reducing risk of fire.

After that, we had a four-day work session where we cleaned up the pool area and common areas.

What other things do you do in the community?

I volunteer at Smith Medical Center as a nurse for the gynecologist there.

That clinic is for Georgetown County residents who have a poverty level income and don’t have any insurance.

I am also a breast cancer survivor and I am one of 20 paddlers with Dragon Boats at the Beach.

We paddle out of Reserve Marina in Pawleys Island, but we also compete in festivals and hold fundraisers.

That is a fun group.

Can you tell me about your family?

My husband, Bill,is a retired new York City Police sergeant.

We have a daughter, Jill, who is a stay-at-home mom and a son, Tom, who is a New York City Police detective.

We also have five grandchildren.

— As told to Clayton Stairs


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