Hardy Foundation Gala honors 10, planning ‘mega reunion’ July 26-28

By Bob Stockton and recently published in The McCormick Messenger

More than 200 people crowded into the Talmadge Fitness and Wellness Center Saturday evening to “celebrate extraordinary people doing amazing things.”

The event was the Hardy Foundation’s Third Annual Gala hosted by Matt Hardy, proprietor of McCormick Tire and Oil, and his family.

Guest speaker and McCormick County Sheriff Clarke Stearns said that the Hardy Foundation is a huge key in building bridges between law enforcement and the community. “It should not take a tragedy to bring our community together,” he said.

The program featured musical entertainment between award presentations in 10 different categories.

“We pick 25 people at random in the community, give them the categories, and whoever gets the most votes in each category gets an award,” Hardy explained. “We want to recognize people while they’re living rather than wait until they’ve passed. We want to give folks a nice time.”

The 10 categories and the people and organizations recognized are:

* Family Owned Business, McCormick Drive Inn;

* Military Service, George Long;

* School System Commitment, Catherine Callaham;

* All-Around Student, T’laysha Creswell;

* Health & Wellness, Demarcus Tutt;

* Public Service, Faye Puckett;

* Business Advocate, McCormick Chamber of Commerce;

* Political Leader, Charles Jennings;

* Church Community Involvement, Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, and

* Community Service, Ulysses Smith.

Hardy thanked his family members for their work and said, “It doesn’t stop here. We’re going to have a McCormick High School mega class reunion at the end of July.”

He is planning the reunion for classes from 1971 to 1999, and the dates are from July 26 to 28. “We’re planning to have a parade through town, the SC State University Band and a concert Saturday night,” Hardy said. “We’ve got 800 people signed up now and hope to have 1,200 attending.”

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