2009 Women of Distinction, Friday, April 17, Charleston Marriott
The Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina hosted its annual banquet
honoring women who have made significant contributions to the community through their respective fields, ranging from the arts to healthcare. Everyone at CHARLESTON magazine was proud to learn our own editor-in-chief, Darcy Shankland, was the honoree in the media category.
When I arrived at the Charleston Marriott on Lockwood for the event, Darcy, escorted by her always charming beau, Wally Seinsheimer, were just checking in. Now, a bit of inside scoop: having served on the editorial staff at Charleston mag, I can attest to the fact that Darcy is properly demanding in her role as editor, constantly pushing her folks to excel. But her quite often behind-the-scenes work that she does for countless charitable organizations throughout the Lowcountry reveals a soft heart that deeply cares about people-especially the underprivileged-in the community she has unreservedly embraced. I've seen Darcy honored before, and although she manages to conceal it well, I'm always touched by her slight discomfort at having the spotlight shined on her charitable works.
Although I can't claim to know them all as personally as I know Darcy, I believe this is a trait shared by all the women honored that night. During the silent auction I had the privilege of meeting and having a brief conversation with one such honoree, Dr. Connie Best, who's a psychiatrist at MUSC, who was accompanied by her husband Paul Harrison. Dr. Best modestly accepted my congratulations, but she also kept redirecting the conversation away from her accomplishments towards other topics, including her offer to send referrals to a mutual friend who has just established a psychiatry practice in town. One funny though: throughout our conversation, Connie was practicing the silent auction skills she'd picked up at earlier gala events-poised in the center of the room, from where she could keep an eagle eye on the items she was bidding on (sorry I can't share, but I swore, Scout's Honor, not to reveal her secrets).
Before time was called on the silent auction and we all headed to dinner and the awards ceremony, I ran into yet another charitable soul, Louis Yuhasz of Louie's Kids, who was there to support his good friend Darcy. Louis was surveying the auction items with my predecessor, Ida Becker, who had just returned from trotting the globe working on her U Truth Project. I deferentially offered my camera and notepad to Ida's much more capable hands, but she graciously ceded her former duties to me. Then moments before dinner was announced, I encountered Terry Fox holding court with Victoria Marshall at the bar. I'd just collaborated with Terry in a story I'd written for the magazine which promises to share Terry's outstanding art collection with Charleston readers (look for it in the May issue).
On to the banquet room, where a Girl Scout color guard admirably executed their duties in leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Pledge. As I listened attentively while each honoree was recognized and their accomplishments listed (or at least the surface of those accomplishments was scratched), it occurred to me what an incredible ripple effect just a few dedicated citizens can create in our communities. What's more, I was struck by how many of these remarkable women credited their own experiences as girl scouts as a determining influence in the development of their sense of responsibility towards making the world around them a better place for us all.