Beaufort County Council Chairman Joe Passiment, center, accepts the Golden Palmetto Award at the council meeting in November. At left is DDSN Commissioner Vice Chair Barry Malphrus, with DDSN Commissioner Eddie Miller on the right.

The South Carolina (SC) Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) awarded Beaufort County the 2021 Golden Palmetto Award. 

The award is DDSN’s way of honoring SC county governments for providing outstanding support to individuals with disabilities.

DDSN Commissioners Barry Malphrus and Eddie Miller made the presentation to the council at the Beaufort County Council meeting in November at Buckwalter Recreation Center in Bluffton. 

Beaufort County has made its Disabilities and Special Needs (DSN) board a county department. 

This organization assures supported persons and their families of excellent services and needed resources in well-maintained facilities. A county council member serves on the agency’s Advisory Board to provide support and direction.

Ten years ago, Beaufort County made a commitment to design and construct a state-of-the-art facility to house their day program and other program offices. The county has also constructed 11 residential homes for persons supported. 

The county government commissioned a study by the University of South Carolina to assess the needs of families with individuals with disabilities. The results of the survey were used to inform lawmakers of the needs of Beaufort’s disability community and how to better serve them.

Most recently, the county approved two accessible playgrounds for families and caregivers, and distributed Beaufort’s policies and service information translated into Spanish to churches, businesses and families.

Beaufort County DSN Director Bill Love said, “Beaufort County government has generously supported our department’s finances and programs and is dedicated to the employment of people with disabilities and special needs in Beaufort County. They definitely deserve the Golden Palmetto Award.”

DDSN has given the Golden Palmetto award for the past 47 years with the exception of 2019 and 2020, due to the pandemic. This year, Beaufort County has become a four-time winner, with previous awards received in 1983, 1990 and 2011.

“Beaufort County employs a significant number of people with disabilities at its agency,” Malphrus said. “Employment is one of the things I am most passionate about because it promotes independence for people who are disabled and is something that is very dear to me as I am a person with cerebral palsy who is self-employed and owner of my own business in our community. Thank you, Beaufort County for all you do for those with disabilities.”

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