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      Three awarded Marion Medallions for service to the Pee Dee

      Henry Badie

      Three Pee Dee residents were recognized with Marion Medallions for their contributions and service to the people of the Pee Dee.

      Medallions were presented to Henry Badie Jr., Clyde Odom, and Henry Brunson. You can read their bios below.

      In the presentation ceremony held Thursday at the Francis Marion University Center for Performing Arts, FMU President Dr. Fred Carter said all three made "sustained and significant contributions" to the improvement of the Pee Dee Region and its people.

      The Marion Medallion is named for General Francis Marion, the revolutionary war leader who led Patriot forces in the Pee Dee Region, and who is the namesake of FMU. February 27th is General Francis Marion Day.

      Francis Marion University released the following about the 2014 recipients:

      Pastor Henry Badie Jr.

      Badie was honored for years of tending to the needs of the east Florence community, both through his church and beyond. In particular, Badie is a long-time advocate for the needs of the homeless and destitute in Florence, and is among the founders of the J.H. Sherman Food Pantry. More than 60 people are served weekly from its location beside Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ on East Pine Street. Badie's personal and pastoral generosity is well known in the community surrounding the church, where he daily looks for ways to help and serve those in need. That, says Badie, is filling his calling to "bridge the gap" between haves and have nots. Badie is a native of Chester, Pa. who moved to the Florence area with his wife, the late Joyce Badie, a Pamplico native, many years ago. He is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

      Henry Brunson

      Brunson was honored as the founder of Cooks for Christ, a grassroots non-profit organization created more than two decades ago by Brunson and other employees at Smurfit Stone (RockTenn) in eastern Florence Country. Then, the group hosted small, multi-pot chicken bog fundraisers to support co-workers facing daunting life situations. Today, the organization takes on similar projects but on a much grander scale. Cooking up tons of bog - it's not uncommon for Cooks for Christ to sell 2,000 plates at a single event - it raises money for families, individuals and even some groups, across the Pee Dee and beyond. Brunson credits Cooks for Christ's growth to the "hand of God working through me and many others." Brunson is no stranger to public service. He's a founding member of the Latta Rescue Squad, a 50-year veteran and former chief of the Latta Fire Department, a long-time Boy Scout Leader and a member of Gideon's International and two different prayer groups. Besides the Marion Medallion, Brunson has received the Order of the Palmetto and was named Dillon's 2013 Citizen of the Year. Earlier in his life, he spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. Brunson and his wife Dottie have been married more than 50 years.

      Pastor Clyde Odom

      Odom was recognized for his tireless advocacy for the homeless in Florence, a city he says God "called him to move to" more than a decade ago. Odom and his wife Pat found their way to King of Kings Church in north Florence where they reached to "the least" of their community and began a wide-ranging ministry of assistance. Odom's vision for assisting the homeless and destitute in Florence developed into the House of Hope program, a partnership with the City of Florence, in which dilapidated homes are rehabilitated by volunteers, then occupied by families in transition from homelessness and other dire situations. Odom and company help House of Hope residents develop needed skills so they can create and execute a plan for their future. This all-encompassing approach fits Odom's belief that members of God's kingdom should be "saturated with love." Odom is a native of New York and a veteran of the U.S. Army. He and Pat have, between them, four children and 10 grandchildren.