Every once in a while, we get a chance to celebrate those humble servants among us who never ask but truly deserve celebration. This is true of Mary J. Garvin – a person who has not only been a major part of a vision that has transformed countless lives, but one who has led others, in her own dedicated way, to the fulfillment of that vision.
Last weekend, at the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association’s annual meeting, Mrs. Garvin was presented with the 2013 Visionary Award for her extraordinary leadership, actions and ideas that, in turn, have transformed community health.
Garvin, immediate past chair of CareSouth Carolina’s Board of Directors and current board member, was surprised by the honor.
“I was definitely surprised. But, I also felt kind of guilty,” she said. “Because this should not just be about me. Past board members, current board members and staff at CareSouth all should be accepting this with me. They are the ones – all of them – who had the vision to make this happen in Society Hill, in Cheraw, in Chesterfield, in Bennettsville, across all the places and communities that CareSouth serves now.”
Mrs. Garvin became emotional when accepting the award. It was just last month that she stepped down as chair after serving in that capacity since 1996. Before that, she was a charter member of the Society Hill Family Health Clinic – now CareSouth Carolina – that first gained its charter in 1980.
“I guess I am from the old school,” said Mrs. Garvin. “I know where we came from – one room and four staff to now having 11 medical center and serving so many people in need. We were blessed to have the right board, blessed to pick the right CEO who was blessed to pick the right staff. Reflecting back, it’s all been a blessing. Don’t you think?”
“Mrs. Garvin has been steadfast in her commitment to serve the needs of the medically uninsured,” said Ann Lewis, CEO at CareSouth Carolina. “Her dedication has been undeterred, and her passion without challenge. She has guided CareSouth Carolina over many milestones, bumpy roads and shining accomplishments. All of which she has done tirelessly and selflessly – devoting her time, energy and passion without question. She is the very example of community based visionary leadership.”
The purpose of the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association Visionary award is to recognize and celebrate extraordinary leadership. It is given to individuals whose actions and ideas help transform community health centers on a local, state and/or national level.