Two organizations have been recognized as the first “Community Heroes in South Carolina” in a new S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control public health initiative.
The agency spotlighted Charleston-based Fetter Health Care Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in McCormick for their COVID-19 vaccination, testing and educations efforts.
“While DHEC is the state’s lead public health agency, it can’t defeat COVID-19 alone,” Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director, said in a news release. “DHEC needs help, support, and ideas from community partners to enhance access to education, testing and vaccines in communities across the state. We have many outstanding partners who have sprung into action, and we want to recognize those partners for all of their efforts and to also encourage others to become leaders in their communities.”
In January, Fetter Health Care Network vaccinated 580 S.C. residents in an underserved area, working with Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston to organize and promote the clinic. Through collaboration with churches, schools and other organizations, Fetter has helped administer 16,552 vaccines at 26 sites, according to the release from DHEC.
“Success in the fight against COVID-19 will be realized as a group effort,” said Taylor Lee, DHEC’s Lowcountry Regional Health director. “Fetter Health is a fantastic community resource, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to serve the residents of our great state.”
New Hope Missionary Baptist church has partnered with DHEC to play host to testing and vaccination events, helping vaccinate a total of 2,051 people.
“We are thankful that DHEC afforded us the opportunity to help the community,” said Rev. Michael A. Butler, church pastor. “It’s been a pleasure to work with DHEC and in such a cooperative spirit. It’s been a blessing, and we had other churches and individuals in the community who donated to help defray the costs.”
Nomination forms for community public health heroes are available online. Recipients will be announced regularly, according to DHEC.s