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Governor's Council on Physical Fitness

SC Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Awards

award imageThe SC Governor's Council Physical Fitness Awards and presentation ceremony will not be held for 2010 while we review the awards processes.  Please look for the awards again for 2011.


2008 Physical Fitness Awards

The winner of the:

  • School Award is:  Spartanburg Christian Academy, accepted by Rob McDonald, School Administrator
    Honorable Mention:  Bonner Elementary School, accepted by Tricia McDonald
  • Community Award:  Team BI-LO, accepted by Cissy Fowler and Jennifer Young
  • Worksite Award: Verizon Wireless Health and Wellness Centers, accepted by Shelley Hinson
    Honorable Mention:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, accepted by Sarah Beiderwell
  • Individual Award: Kathie O. Goodwin
  • Public Policy: House of Representatives Garry R. Smith
  • Excellence in Achievement:  South Carolina Independent School Association, accepted by Larry Watt, Executive Director, and Lyndi Bonnette, Activities Director

 We wish to congratulate all of the winners!


2007 Physical Fitness Awards

The winner of the:

  • School Award is:  Laurel Hill Primary School
    Honorable Mention:  West View Elementary School
  • Community Award:  Leukemia Lymphoma Society, SC Chapter’s Team in Training
  • Worksite Award: Lexington Medical Center’s Health Directions
    Honorable Mention: Select Health of South Carolina
  • Individual Award: Mr. Matt Evans
  • Excellence in Achievement:  South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

Finally, the Council would like to thank Josey Templeton for 10 years of dedication and leadership as chairperson to the SC Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. 


2006 Physical Fitness Awards

South Carolina’s Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness presented their awards to individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts in advancing and promoting the levels of health and fitness on September 28 at the USC versus Auburn game at halftime.

Throughout the state of South Carolina, the South Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness was established by executive order to serve as an advisor to the state of South Carolina on issues related to physical activity. The South Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control would like to thank all the nominees for there tireless and outstanding work.        
 The winners:

  • School Award: Bonner Elementary, Moncks Corner
  • Community Award: YMCA of Columbia
  • Worksite Award: Carolinas Hospital System, Florence
  • Faith Based Award: Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Marion
  • Public Policy Award: winner: Representative Vida O’ Miller, Charleston
  • Media Award: David Quick. Charleston Post and Courier, Charleston
  • Individual Award: Two First place winners :  Alex Gleason Senior at Erskine College and Brenda Murray Fitness For All, Charleston.


2005 Physical Fitness Awards

The South Carolina Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness held its ninth annual awards luncheon on Thursday, April 14th, 2005 to honor outstanding leaders in the field of physical activity. The banquet took place at the annual “Promoting an Active SC Conference” at the Columbia Conference Center in Columbia. The Governor’s Council aims to promote health by increasing levels of physical activity, and took this opportunity to commend those also committed to this important mission. Following are the award winners and a brief description of how they are advancing the levels of physical activity in the state of South Carolina.

The Individual Award is given to a person who exemplifies a physically active lifestyle. This year the Individual Award was given to Mr. Chris Holt.

Coach Holt is a physical education teacher and the healthy schools coordinator at Vareness Elementary School located in Anderson. In his six years of teaching, Coach Holt has been a crusader for the promotion of physical activity across Anderson School District Five. While at Vareness Elementary School, Coach Holt has not only served as a leader of the School Health Improvement Partnership Team, he has often times served as a lone-ranger in keeping the health improvement effort at Vareness alive. Identifying physical activity and staff wellness as his focal point, Coach Holt has established an after school walking/ running club for students, parents, and faculty with over 150 participants. His other efforts include influencing teachers to implement a stretch and exercise break during class, implementing a morning physical activity club, fundraising initiatives to purchase and install a rock climbing wall and a kindergarten playground, and securing funds for pedometers for the faculty and staff. So many students, parents and teachers have benefited from Coach Holt’s leadership and enthusiasm in planning and implementing a highly successful and growing physical activity program.

The honorable mention award in the Individual category was presented to Dr. William Pierce.

Dr. Pierce is a professor and Chair of the Health and Exercise Science Department at Furman University in Greenville. He has over 28 years of full-time university teaching, 22 of those years at Furman University, and 20 as a department chair. Dr. Pierce is the co-founder of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training and a major asset to the Greater Greenville Shrinkdown and the Greenville Walks program. At Furman University, he has led the adoption of a four-credit hour Wellness Concepts course requirement for students, which is reportedly effective in promoting physical activity and healthy behaviors. Dr. Pierce’s many initiatives include wellness presentations across the nation, training for youth sports coaches, and the development of wellness programs and activities for university employees.


The Worksite Award is given to a business, which encourages and promotes employee physical activity. This year, the honor went to Health Directions, the wellness department at Lexington Medical Center.

Over the past two decades, Health Directions has provided innovative and educational fitness and wellness programs to employees, chaplains and volunteers throughout the hospital system, including:

  • yoga breaks
  • a wellness committee
  • annual National Health & Fitness Day celebrations
  • Positive Approaches Towards Health (PATH) which provides free annual health screenings
  • PATH Continuing Education -- a series of classes that increase employee awareness as a follow up to the PATH program
  • the Lunch and Learn Series -- wellness education sessions offered monthly
  • the Wellness Corner -- a corner of health and fitness information corner in the cafeteria.

The newest employee benefit from the wellness department is the brand new state-of-the-art fitness center that opened in December 2004. The new Wellness Center features Epic and Freemotion strength equipment, cardiovascular machines with Cardio Theater, a walking track and 3 group fitness studios. Over 60 classes are offered at the center and employees receive 50% discount off the membership rate.


The Media Award is given to a newspaper, television station, or radio station, or to an individual reporter, for outstanding coverage of physical activity. This year, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Media Award went to The Spartanburg Herald Journal.

The Spartanburg Herald Journal reported a series in the spring and fall of 2004 called Weekend Walkabouts, written by Gary Henderson. The series encouraged walking by focusing on great places to walk in downtown Spartanburg. In the spring of 2004, The Herald Journal hosted walks outside of the county with incentives for over 2,400 participants. The Herald-Journal is currently strongly supporting the Bike Town Spartanburg initiative. In addition to donating free advertising space to the Lollapalooza Loop through its Celebrate Community Initiative, the paper also has three different reporters straining for the Assault on Marion bicycle ride, a 72-mile ride from Spartanburg to Marion, NC. The reporters were all given loaner bikes by two local bike shops, the Great Escape and BikeOn, and are each writing stories for each Thursday's Life section detailing their training. The reporters are including helpful tips for beginning cyclists, writing about bicycle commuting, and keeping a detailed log of their training. The newspaper has also started a cycling page on its website. As part of the Bike Town Spartanburg initiative, The Herald Journal is also giving away 42 bicycles to people all across Spartanburg who wrote a convincing essay about how they would use a new bike. The Herald-Journal is also planning to write about each of these people.

The Community Award is given to an organization or group that encourages and promotes physical activity in the community. This year, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Community Award was presented to The Furman University Health & Exercise Science Department.

The department is involved in a wide variety of programs to increase health awareness. A partnership with the YMCA of Greenville was established to design and promote Greater Greenville Shrinkdown and Greenville Walks, two community health initiatives. Other initiatives by the Furman University Health & Exercise Science Department include:

  • The Senior Activity Rejuvenation Project (which helps to train senior citizens to participate in the senior games)
  • The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (which lectures area residents twice a month on running)
  • the implementation of trail maps to encourage campus walking, mountain biking, and running trails
  • a 5K race and fitness walk
  • and etc.


The Faith Based Award is given to a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious organization or affiliated group that encourages and promotes physical activity among members. This year’s Faith Based award was presented to Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylors, SC.

Taylors First Baptist Church is dedicated to keeping the body, mind and soul fit through health, fitness activities programs and activities. In January 2005, Taylors First Baptist Church opened the Family Life Center to members and non-members with hopes of creating a strong impact for God on the congregation and the community at large. The Family Center has a 1/10 mile walking track, two basketball courts, a group fitness aerobic studio, class rooms and a cardio/weight room with treadmills, arch trainers, stair steppers, bikes, and resistance machines. Parish nurses work to train family life center volunteers in CPR, AED, and first aid.

In addition to the Family Life Center, Taylors First Baptist Church has opened a free medical clinic to minister to the community. The members of Taylors First Baptist Church try to stay informed of upcoming community wellness events and are working to establish a medical services referral network. Taylors First Baptist Church also sponsors First Place, a Christ-centered health support group that meets weekly.


Honorable Mention in the Faith Based Category went to Jones Chapel Baptist Church in Orangeburg, SC.

Jones Chapel Baptist Church is a rural church that promotes, maintains and improves the health of its members and the community at large. Jones Chapel Baptist Church’s strategies include:

  • serving as a health resource by providing access to its facilities for physical activity
  • providing educational developmental courses,
  • collaborating with community organizations,
  • sponsoring community events, and
  • providing church buses for various off-site events.

Jones Chapel Baptist Church has implemented a number of physical activity programs such as the annual 5-mile Health Fun Walk, the youth and adult basketball leagues, the Praise Dance Team, the summer instructional t-ball program, a church walking trail and etc.


The School Award is given to a school that encourages and promotes physical activity among teachers, staff, and students. This year, the Governor’s Council bestowed this honor to Palmetto Elementary School, in Williamston.

Palmetto Elementary School, in Anderson School District One, has been recognized for excellence in its school health program. As part of Anderson County’s School Health Improvement Partnership project, Palmetto’s team has targeted physical inactivity as a critical risk for students and has attempted to address this issue in a variety of ways, including:

  • the development and construction of a walking track and a walking club
  • participation in community events like “Jump Rope for Heart”
  • the integration of lifelong behaviors into field day events
  • implementing a “Day of Play”
  • encouragement and incentives for staff to be more physically active through their “HealthSmart” program
  • as well as safety inspections and monitoring of the safety of campus play equipment.


Honorable Mention in the School Category went to McLees Elementary School in Anderson, SC.

McLees Elementary School serves approximately 590 students and has been open for just two years. The faculty recruited and established a formal School Health Team during the 2003-2004 school year, where members voluntarily attended a 4-day training learn strategies to help improve the health of their students and staff. The team’s primary objective was “to increase awareness of the importance of physical fitness and increase the number of opportunities to engage in physical activities for our staff, students, and community.” Renee Brown, head custodian, lifelong fitness enthusiast and Certified Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer, was elected as the health team leader. Under her leadership, the team is carrying out exciting initiatives that are making a lasting impact. Such initiatives include the creation of a staff wellness room where Renee Brown solicited a local fitness center to donate high quality fitness equipment for faculty use before and after school hours, the development of a walking track; the development of a running club with an incentive program; offering healthy eating workshops, organizing a PTO health and fitness program, and etc.


The Public Policy Award is given to a local, state, or national policy maker or group of policy makers who support physical activity through changes in public policy. This year this award was given to The Palmetto Cycling Coalition.

The Palmetto Cycling Coalition has made great strides in promoting bicycling and non-motorized transportation in SC. They have promoted community participation through many events that they are involved in around the state including:

  • Festavelo of Charleston (a family-focused event)
  • The Assault on Mount Mitchell (a 103-mile bike ride), and
  • The Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo Curriculum that teaches kids how to navigate safely in their communities.

Perhaps the Palmetto Cycling Coalition’s greatest contribution is as a leader and model in the state by working to create policy and environmental change that is supportive of physical activity. They have:

  • created the SC Bicycle Caucus to promote educational and promotes the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians
  • worked with the SCDOT to promote the “Share the Road” signs and identify the best locations for the signs
  • applied and received a Complete the Streets Grants in 20004
  • worked with Councils of Government around SC to promote, guide, and advocate for bicycle and pedestrian-sage communities
  • worked with Governor Sanford in planning the route for his Family Fitness Challenge in 2004