Tidelands Health team members volunteer to help improve health of waterways through Horry County Service Day
Shannon King slid on her trusty rain boots and grabbed her Tidelands Health storm team rain jacket and headed out for what would be anything but a typical day of work.
Instead of visiting local businesses to help them improve the wellness of their employees, King, a corporate health consultant at Tidelands Health, spent last Friday morning helping improve the health of the region’s waterways by volunteering for Horry County Service Day. The effort to clear drainage ditches, canals and other waterways was planned in cooperation with the South Carolina Floodwater Commission, which met Friday in Conway.
King’s task during the massive, Horry County cleanup effort? Maneuvering a kayak along the Intracoastal Waterway near Socastee Park & Yacht Basin Landing to help remove bulky debris clogging the free flow of water and contributing to flooding.
“You feel good about it,” King said after listening to Gov. Henry McMaster and other elected leaders during a lunchtime ceremony heralding the clean-up effort and the commission’s work. “It’s like a badge of honor when you have a load of debris stacked on your boat.”
And, boy, did Service Day participants find some doozies: a rusty grill, parts of wrecked boats, several large curbside trash cans, Styrofoam, mangled mounds of fishing line and more. Even a dingy old couch ended up in the trash heap at the end of the day. Tow boats helped pull the bulky junk from the water.
Hundreds of volunteers tackled waterways and their banks in Socastee, Conway, Bucksport and Loris by clearing trees, limbs, trash and debris and removing accumulated sediment.
McMaster and other local, state and federal leaders lauded the volunteers’ efforts during a brief ceremony in Socastee as traffic whizzed by overhead on S.C. 544. On Friday, the state floodwater commission issued a final report with recommendations to address chronic flooding.
King was joined by other Tidelands Health employee partners who donned boots and gear to help clear the waterways and banks at Socastee Park & Yacht Basin Landing and flood-prone neighborhoods. Frances Drew and Ashley Huff – both in the marketing and communications department – and Will Fiscus, occupational health manager, also participated.
Fiscus sacrificed what would have been a day off doing yard work and winterizing his house to paddle the waterway in a kayak looking for junk and debris.
“They can go ahead and sign me up every year. I love it,” Fiscus said. “I like being out with people and seeing them do good stuff like this. It does your heart good.”