People in South Carolina are community-minded and look out for each other. We are proud of our state's neighborly spirit, and it's serving us well as we fight COVID-19 together.
DHEC wants to celebrate the community heroes among us. Community heroes demonstrate gold standards in excellence to expand access to COVID-19 education, testing and vaccines in our state. These heroes are ordinary people doing remarkable things. They are community members, partners, providers, and DHEC staff across the state.
As a state, we are fighting a pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in over 100 years. Safe and effective vaccines are here, and they are our hope to defeat COVID-19.
While DHEC is the state’s lead public health agency, it can’t defeat COVID-19 alone. DHEC needs help, support, and ideas from everyone to enhance access to education, testing and vaccines in communities across the state. Many heroes have sprung into action. Their examples serve as a guide for others to follow to provide access and equity in education, testing and vaccines for all South Carolinians.
Nominate a Community Hero
It's time to begin celebrating the great work of our community heroes across the state. Get recognized by nominating yourself, others, a provider, or a community group. Community heroes will receive a certificate and a write-up recognizing their efforts to help end COVID-19.
In 500 words or less, you can describe what the nominee has done to enhance access to COVID-19 education, testing and/or vaccinations for fellow South Carolinians. You may also provide photos or videos that you own to help us tell their story.
Examples of Community Heroes
DHEC presented a Community Hero award to the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) for its continued efforts to make lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines available in communities throughout the Upstate, especially in rural and underserved areas.
In March 2021, DHEC partnered with VCOM to co-locate a COVID-19 vaccination clinic within the college’s community health center. Since then, VCOM has administered more than 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines, and the clinic’s staff and students work to promote vaccine outreach and information within the surrounding communities. VCOM also uses its Mobile Medical Unit to reach people in neighborhoods that don’t have nearby access to health care centers or clinics. VCOM’s commitment to helping those in medically-underserved areas supports DHEC’s overarching efforts to help ensure all South Carolinians have evidence-based information needed to make informed decisions about their health and equitable access to great public health and healthcare services, including immunizations like COVID-19 vaccines.
Read more here.
DHEC recognized the Midlands Region’s Community Health Workers as the latest recipients of the COVID-19 Community Hero Award. The Community Health Workers were nominated by their regional public health leaders for their dedicated service and compassion throughout the pandemic response.
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a trusted and well-known member of a particular community who helps connect other community members with important public health resources. Through their leadership and positive influence, CHWs help share information with vulnerable or sometimes hard-to-reach populations, such as the elderly; neighborhoods with predominant language barriers; migrant workers; and individuals experiencing homelessness.
CHWs were hired by DHEC for assistance in “boots on the ground” efforts to share important COVID-19 information and resources in neighborhoods across the state. CHWs quickly became an integral part of the agency’s public education and outreach efforts by promoting testing and vaccination sites, sharing and translating COVID-19 materials and information with businesses, organizations and individuals, participating in community events, and strengthening connections between DHEC and the residents the agency serves. Read more here.
DHEC is proud to announce the South Carolina State University Bulldogs Football Team as the latest recipient of the agency’s Community Hero Award. Every player on the Bulldogs football team is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To recognize the team’s great efforts, during halftime of the Nov. 6 SC State football game, Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, and Felicia Veasey, DHEC’s COVID Response Operations Director for the Lowcountry, presented SC State’s Interim President Col. Alexander Conyers and Athletic Director Stacy Danley with the agency’s Community Hero Award. DHEC presents this award to groups or individuals who have taken the initiative to be community leaders during the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Read more here.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has named the Benedict College Tigers a recipient of the agency’s COVID-19 Community Hero award. DHEC presents this award to groups or individuals who have taken the initiative to be community leaders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Each player, coach and trainer of Benedict’s athletic teams is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the Tigers’ homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 23, Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina State Epidemiologist, and Thomas Bowen, Finance & Facilities Manager for DHEC’s Midlands Public Health Region, presented the Community Hero Award to Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President of Benedict College, and Willie Washington, Athletic Director. Read more here.
CareSouth Carolina, a health center with several locations throughout the Pee Dee region, has been a key partner with DHEC for holding COVID-19 testing locations since the onset of the pandemic. CareSouth Carolina was recently nominated as a Community Hero for its continued support of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, especially for its Moby Outreach Program. Medical staff use five “Moby” vans to drive to rural and underserved areas of the region to administer the single-dose Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine as part of ongoing efforts to ensure all residents have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to learn more about CareSouth's recognition by DHEC.
From early on in the statewide vaccination rollout, Good Pharmacy has been a key partner in offering COVID-19 vaccines to the community. The pharmacy began administering its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 18, 2021, and continues to make getting your immunizations safe, easy, and convenient. As of early September, Good Pharmacy had administered more than 16,000 COVID-19 vaccines. The locally and family-owned pharmacy has been serving the Rock Hill area since 1963, and its trusted years of service within the community have helped increase vaccination confidence among customers. Read more here.
DHEC named My Pharmacy, located in Lexington, a Community Hero for its ongoing efforts to make vaccines available in nearby communities. My Pharmacy began administering COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 14, 2021, and the pharmacy recently surpassed 15,500 shots administered. My Pharmacy has prioritized vaccinating people in rural and underserved areas by utilizing its mobile van to host vaccination events in communities within Dillon, Manning, and Florence in partnerships with local mayors and politicians.
The pharmacy has also used social media to geo-target advertisements informing people in rural areas that My Pharmacy is available to them to get vaccinated or tested. The pharmacy’s staff provides important information about the vaccines to their customers and also helps customers with limited or no Internet learn how to register themselves and others to get the lifesaving shots. My Pharmacy also has offered incentives to help encourage vaccinations. Learn more at the pharmacy and its role in helping the community battle COVID-19 here.
DHEC announced Rock Hill-Piedmont Medical Vaccination Clinic as a Community Hero for exceptional efforts to vaccinate South Carolinians and support the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. The clinic has administered more than 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines. Rock Hill-Piedmont Medical Vaccination Center is a partnership between the City of Rock Hill, York County, Piedmont Medical Center, DHEC, and several local groups. The site is staffed by a mostly volunteer force of more than 1,600 people and has averaged more than 900 visitors per day, including school teachers, hundreds of eligible Winthrop University students, local county and city governments workers, police officers and first responders, senior citizens, critical industry workers and health care employees. Read more here.
In January, Fetter Health Care Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Charleston, vaccinated 580 South Carolina residents at a Baptist church in an underserved area. Fetter worked in close partnership with Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston to organize and promote the clinic. Fetter has collaborative agreements with multiple churches, schools and organizations in areas where vulnerable populations live, and, in total, Fetter Health has helped administer 16,552 vaccines at 26 sites. Read more here.
DHEC relies on much-needed partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, hospitals and other health care facilities, businesses and others. It is equally important to have the support and cooperation of our local communities to help stop this disease and save lives. DHEC has partnered with New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in McCormick to host COVID-19 testing and vaccination events. New Hope is a small, rural church pastored by Rev. Michael A. Butler. In the spring of 2020, DHEC and Self Regional Healthcare held COVID-19 testing clinics at the church and in recent weeks, with COVID-19 vaccine available, the partnership was rekindled. As of today, 17 vaccine clinics have been held at New Hope with 2,051 total vaccines administered. Read more here.