Seven South Carolinians recognized for disaster relief efforts

Three unit leaders, a group of sisters, and a missions strategist have received awards this year for their volunteer service through South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief.

Wayne Dutton

Wayne Dutton of Springdale Baptist Church in Lancaster received the “Buck” Buckner Memorial Award for distinguished service. 

Dutton has served as a unit leader with Moriah Baptist Association Disaster Relief for more than 25 years. He responded to events such as Hurricane Hugo, Florida hurricanes, and Hurricane Katrina, as well as in communities close to home after local storms.

While cutting trees, pulling brush or in multiple other ways, Dutton shared God’s love with those in need. He maintained the mud-out and chainsaw trailers to have them ready to serve and pulled the trailers to disaster areas. His strong faith in Christ and servant’s heart have been evident in his disaster relief activities, according to SCBDR Director Susan Peugh.

Carolyn Summers, Judy Dingler, and Toni Flynn of Camp Creek Baptist Church in Lancaster received the Permelia Creamer Award, which recognizes disaster relief service by women. 

Known in DR circles as “the three sisters of the laundry,” these women have most often served in the shower/laundry ministry, but lately have discovered a love for mud-out ministry. The sisters have recently taken the lead in reviving a recovery unit for their church after it had grown inactive in the association. Serving the Lord with gladness, they bring positive attitudes and laughter to the sites where they serve, Peugh said.

James Looper

James Looper of Nine Forks Baptist Church in Pickens was presented the Tommy Thompson Award for leading by example in a smaller membership church/rural area. Looper is unit leader for the Pickens-Twelve Mile Association’s chainsaw and mud-out unit.

When the association’s DR unit was stolen a couple of years ago, Looper worked tirelessly to construct and equip a replacement trailer. During that time, he served on numerous deployments with nearby units. He has worked to build interest in disaster relief within the association, encouraging others to serve people in crisis, DR Operations Manager Sue Harmon said.

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace, associational missions strategist for York Baptist Association, was presented the Cliff Satterwhite Award. Wallace led the recovery efforts of South Carolina Baptists in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in 2019-2020.

Because of Wallace’s leadership, S.C. Baptists were able to assist the Caravel Zion Baptist Church in Freeport with recovery and rebuilding. The York Association’s mud-out unit was shipped to Freeport for use in tear-out, mold remediation and repairs on the church and homes in the surrounding community. York coordinated plans, people, equipment, and supplies — and throughout the challenges of this overseas recovery project, he led with grace and a heart to serve in the name of Christ, Peugh said.

Jeff Heath

Jeff Heath of Edwards Road Baptist Church in Greenville was the recipient of SCBDR’s highest honor, the Choice and Grace Watson Award, which recognizes an individual or couple who personifies a lifetime of service locally, statewide, and nationally. Heath is unit leader for the Greenville Baptist Association mud-out unit. 

He has a Christlike heart for serving others, Peugh said, adding that he leads his team to accomplishing amazing amounts of physically demanding work while still giving priority to ministering to the homeowners through encouragement, prayer, and Scripture. His team members see him lead with patience, skill, attention to detail, and humility; therefore, they gladly follow him in serving Jesus, she said.

Dates for 2024 disaster relief training events are Spring Training, March 9, Barnwell area; Unit Leader Training, April 12-13, Florence area; and Fall Training, Oct. 12, Spartanburg area.