Murrells Inlet 2020 named the winners of two annual awards during its bi-annual Chowder Talk community meeting on Nov. 1.

MI2020 Executive Director Meredith Millen welcomed people to the meeting, held at Murrells Inlet Community Center. The nonprofit group, dedicated to preserving the inlet and promoting the area, is celebrating more than 20 years of community service.

“As we look back at things we’ve done over the last 20 years, its all because of your input, your help, your donations; it has been very much a community-driven success,” Millen said. “I look forward to 20 more years in hopes that we can continue what we are doing.”

The group, originally named Murrells Inlet 2007, was formed in 1997 as a 10-year plan for the Inlet.

Rick Baumann, founder of Trees for Tomorrow and a member of Stop Oil Drilling in the Atlantic, was the Golden Oyster Award winner. His name will be engraved on a plaque with other winners of the award on the Marsh Walk at the start of the Murrells Inlet Veterans Pier.

Millen explained the Golden Oyster Award was designed by the Creek Preservation Committee of MI2020 to do two important things:

  • Recognize organizations, businesses or individuals whose actions show respect and care for the inlet landscape and waters.
  • To bring to light the issue of inlet conserve and help others become better stewards for the Inlet.

She said Baumann has been nominated multiple times by multiple committee members.

“He’s been a longtime advocate for the Murrells Inlet estuary, he was part of a committee that started the first storm water regulations for Georgetown County many years ago,” Millen said. “He has demonstrated a clear understanding of the effects runoff can have on the Inlet and has written many letters to the editor that have educated and informed readers.”

Baumann said he was honored to be named the Golden Oyster winner.

“I would like to invite MI2020 and everyone here tonight to be a little more concerned and more involved with getting caught up in the realities we face,” he said after accepting the award.

Chuck Harrison was named MI2020’s Volunteer of the Year. Board member Linda Lane introduced him, saying he “goes above and beyond for MI2020 and the community he lives in.” She said he has a passion for the inlet and the community and his friends have dubbed him the “Mayor of the Inlet.”

“He could be seen at every one of MI2020s events, or should I say not seen, as he is usually the one setting up events, taking them down and doing the behind-the-scenes dirty work,” Lane said. “He puts his boat in the water for every one of the Spring Tide and Fall Haul community cleanups and he always comes back with an absolute full boat load.”

Harrison said he enjoys volunteering and would like to do it even more.

“What I do now, volunteering, is something I’ve always done, but not near enough,” Harrison said. “This organization does a lot for the Inlet, a lot that I’ve never even realized ... and we’ve still got a lot of work to do I guess.”