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Appreciation event held for community activist

 

Horace Simmons was honored at an appreciation ceremony.

Some call him “Rico.” Younger people refer to him as “Pops.” Whatever anyone calls him, this 70-year-old man goes by Horace Simmons. Many gathered at the Power of faith Deliverance Center on Toya Road Saturday to show their appreciation for his service and dedication to our community.At the appreciation event’s start, community member Brenda Shider said, “As we all know, Mr. Simmons does things his own way.” She noted that, in 1997, he started the Community Action Line Against Violence “as a vision from the Lord.” As president, he would regularly meet with both adults and youths every Saturday at The Rock of Ages Church on Hampton Street. “Mr. Simmons is a force to be reckoned with,” Shider said. “He sees a problem and works it out. For someone who is retired, I’ve never known him not to be doing something for someone, from young people to the elderly.” Shider said she came to know Simmons, saw that he was a very honest and caring individual, and then decided she wanted to work with him on the Action Line team.

Walterboro Mayor Bill Young said, “Mr. Simmons is highly deserving of our appreciation. He can be persistent and can even push us at times, but I think that’s a good thing. Mr. Simmons is very involved in our community.” Young noted that, at Simmons’ urging, a lot has been accomplished within his neighborhood. The old Coastal Fruit Company building, which had gone unused for years, has been raised and the land cleared. Several old fuel storage tanks have also been removed from the neighborhood. Young noted that one million dollars has been invested in the neighborhood. “I look forward to keep working with Mr. Simmons,” Young said

Andy Strickland, who is running as a Democrat in the upcoming Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Race, said he showed up at the wrong church for the appreciation event. He said another church in the area was hosting a get-together, and he parked, walked up to someone, and asked ‘Where’s Horace.’ The man he asked told him he was at the wrong church.

Strickland said that, since he has gotten to know Simmons, he had found that he is a good man. “He is down to earth and is very positive. He holds his ground, has a lot of integrity, and is willing to take a stand for Colleton County.” Strickland noted that Simmons has over 900 children that he calls his own. “It is because of people like him that I am standing here today.”

Colleton County Councilman Phillip Taylor said he has been working with Simmons within the community since the 1990’s. “I first met him on Gerideau Street, and he would invite me to various functions.” Taylor added Simmons is always giving of himself, and is a man who stands by his convictions. “It seems that we have always been friends, and I am very grateful to Mr. Simmons. He helps all over, and I call him boss man.”

It was also noted that Simmons received letters of appreciation from former State Senator Peden McLeod, Judge Ashley Amundson, and State Representative Wendell Gilliard. The letters commended Simmons for his efforts to achieve community improvement.

Towards the end of the event, Simmons was presented with a new wooden rocking chair. Simmons, who is noted for taking in his neighborhood from the porch of his residence, beamed as he saw his new chair.

During the ceremony, community service awards were given to children Anne Mathis Thomas, Perry Mitchell Junior, and Janei Mitchell. Plaques were also presented to the Colleton Women for Change, a group that raised money for book-bags, school uniforms, and school supplies; City Trends of North Charleston for donating over $20,000 worth of clothing for those in need; and to Calvin Bryant, who directs fundraising efforts for Community Action Line Against Violence without the aid of state or federal funding.