Duke Energy president says SC7 leader is “our own force of nature”
By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, S.C. Senator Thomas Alexander, and executive leaders from Duke Energy, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina (BCBS), and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (SCPRT) joined TEAM SC7 for a first-of-the-season SC7 Expedition press event announcing SC7 sponsors and ambassadors, May 24, at the S.C. State House in Columbia.
Led by Dr. Tom Mullikin, chair of the S.C. Floodwater Commission, and Michelle McCollum, S.C. National Heritage Corridor, conference speakers urged all South Carolinians to join a growing throng of outdoor enthusiasts in the fourth annual SOUTH CAROLINA SEVEN (SC7) Expedition across the state throughout the month of July showcasing the seven natural wonders of the state and creating a greater awareness of S.C.’s sterling natural resources and how to protect them.
“I’m so proud to be walking with General, Doctor, all around great guy Tom Mullikin… who through good ideas, great ideas keep building,” said Lt. Gov. Evette. “Every year SC7 grows in popularity. It grows with numbers of viewers watching us, so people all over the world are watching our adventures here in S.C.”
Evette added: “In addition to keeping South Carolinians healthy [through outdoor activities like SC7], we want to keep S.C. clean and beautiful. You all know one of my passions is that of keeping S.C. clean and litter free. I do that with Palmetto Pride and other great partners, and Tom Mullikin has been a huge champion in this.”
Like previous years, SC7 2023 will direct trash clean-up days, and hikers are encouraged to bring a bag on the trail and collect and dispose of debris along the way.
“This helps in terms of economic development and our health and mental well-being,” said Evette. “People function better in a clean and healthy environment. Here in S.C. we want to keep cutting taxes, but we can’t cut taxes if we need to keep paying to have things cleaned up. So everybody needs to do their part every day.”
Media turned out in force for the morning press conference, and Evette urged them to join TEAM SC7 on the trail.
Speakers also included Sen. Thomas Alexander, president of the Senate, who said, “One of the things that came out of the S.C. Floodwater Commission’s 2019 report is that there’s work to be done. We need to come together, get to work, and celebrate what we have.” Duke Energy S.C. President Mike Callahan, said, “SC7 is so unique and powerful for this state, and … Tom Mullikin is our own force of nature.”
Duke Energy is SC7’s presenting sponsor for 2023. SC7’s Health and Wellness sponsors include MUSC and BCBS of South Carolina. SCPRT is SC7’s Ecotourism sponsor.
“We think it’s important to work alongside community partners to ensure that the natural beauty of South Carolina is enjoyed by generations to come,” said Callahan. “Duke Energy is proud to be the lead sponsor of the SC7 expedition and its statewide focus on protecting, restoring and building resiliency in our natural environments and local communities.”
Dr. Susan Johnson with MUSC Health, said: “I am here to represent MUSC, but I am also here because I personally am so passionate about this cause.”
The monthlong SC7 Expedition kicks-off July 1 on the famed Chattooga River in Oconee County and winds through the state where – in addition to whitewater rafting – participants will have the opportunity to hike, climb, kayak, and SCUBA dive from the mountains to sea concluding at MRCD Parris Island and historic Beaufort, July 30. Along the way, participants will explore S.C.’s seven named wonders and visit various on-trail and off-trail destinations of natural or historic significance.
SC7 leaders also announced expedition ambassadors during the May 24 press event. Ambassadors include Lt. Gov. Evette; Sen. Alexander, S.C. Sen. Mike Reichenbach; S.C. Rep. Max T. Hyde, Jr.; Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie; WACH FOX News Director Lena Sadiwskyj; and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) William F. Grimsley, U.S. Army.
“The SC7 ambassadors, through professional and personal networking, are expanding awareness of what our great state has to offer through this fourth-annual SC7 Expedition,” said Dr. Mullikin. “And our generous sponsors are quite literally the lifeblood of SC7.”
Duke Energy, MUSC, BCBS, and SCPRT have all supported previous SC7 expeditions.