LIBERTY — The Pickens County Legislative Delegation met on Monday for their annual public meeting held this year at the Pickens County Performing Arts Center in front of a sparsely populated crowd.
In total, out of a population of over 121,000, only 37 people showed for the 5:30 p.m. meeting — including speakers, the press and the delegation itself — to meet with their government representatives and have the chance to make local problems and concerns known.
Speakers at the event included two representatives from the League of Women Voters, Dr. Eleanor Hare and Holley Ulbrich, who both expressed concerns over gerrymandering, ethics and the teacher shortage in S.C.
Brigitte Johnson from the Guardian ad Litem program told the delegates of the need for more volunteers — male volunteers in particular — to the program and Skeets Cooper introduced himself to the legislators as the District 3 member of the S.C. Aviation Board.
Johnelle Raines spoke on behalf of Conservatives of the Upstate concerning education and Pickens County Council Chairman Roy Costner thanked the delegation for an unprecedented level of openness and communication.
Jim Garrison introduced project “Operation Dragonfly” to the legislators, a plan to obtain a helicopter to be placed on the grounds of the Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley.
“I bet 90 percent of the people that walk in the library have no idea who Kimberly Hampton was,” Garrison said. “I’m a very visual person — I think most people are — and a helicopter on the grounds would be a talking point. People who even just came to the area would know who she was and what she did.”
Garrison stated the group is after a helicopter similar to the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Capt. Hampton was piloting when she was shot down near Fallujah on Jan. 2, 2004, becoming the first female military pilot in United States history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire as well as the first female combat casualty in Iraq from South Carolina.
Several legislators have agreed to help with the project and nearly every local government body has sent letters of support.
When completed, the park will be situated on the left hand side of the library in a grassy area near the book return.