Community Leaders Honored at Lowcountry Lifetime Achievement Awards

Six local citizens and their lifetime contributions to the Lowcountry were honored in downtown Beaufort when the Foundation for Leadership Education hosted the 2020 Lowcountry Lifetime Achievement Awards dinner.

The annual black-tie affair honors citizens selected by a committee of previous award winners based on their community service, leadership roles, community advocacy, pioneering and innovative efforts and mentoring.

Receiving the 2020 Lowcountry Lifetime Achievement Awards were Colden R. Battey Jr., Dr. Charles A. Bush, Roland J. Gardner, Lila N. Meeks, Terry R. Murray, and Robert Smalls.

Michael Moore accepted in honor of Robert Smalls.

The evening also included the recognition of three local schools for receiving the Foundation for Leadership Education’s Leadership Development Grants. The grants were awarded based on the schools’ commitment to programming that supports the development and practice of leadership skills.

The grant recipients included Beaufort Academy, Hilton Head Christian Academy, and Whale Branch Early College High School.

This year’s award ceremony was hosted by W. Charles Tumlin, President of the Foundation for Leadership Education, and the event’s Master of Ceremony was local educator David Nagel. The crowd of 340 attendees was treated to an elegant dinner and a program designed to highlight the lives of six of the Lowcountry’s cherished servant leaders.

“The evening was an excellent opportunity to not only honor these deserving awardees but to also remind our community of their selfless contributions to the Lowcountry,” Tumlin said.

Beaufort Academy received a grant for its Leadership Curriculum. The school was represented by Project Chair Tom Miller and Director Amy Melville.

Hilton Head Christian Academy was also provided support for the development of their new internship program and their “Flight School” – a three-week business skills course. The school was represented by Head of School Doug Langhals and his wife, Neely.

Whale Branch Early College High School received a grant for its “Ladies First” Mentorship Program. Representing the school at the ceremony was Program Director Shelia Cato-Alston.

In addition to FLE’s annual Lowcountry Lifetime Achievement Awards and recognition of the Leadership Grants, the foundation introduced two new awards for the 2020 ceremony – a Lighthouse Scholarship and a Servant Leader Award.

The 2020 Lighthouse Scholarship recipient was Logan Bedenbaugh of Hilton Head Island High School. She will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship each year, for four consecutive years, that will be applied toward her secondary degree.

The 2020 Servant Leader Award recipient was Steven N. Brown. This award was created to honor someone that has demonstrated a consistent willingness to promote the philosophy and practice of enriching the lives of individuals, build better organizations, and ultimately help create a more just and caring world.

The Foundation for Leadership Education’s (FLE) primary objectives are to support leadership education, promote leadership awareness, and to maintain the Lowcountry Lifetime Achievement Awards program. The FLE was founded by local leaders of Beaufort County that represented business, community development, education, management, and the military.

Armed with a vision to help “Prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders”, the group devoted itself to supporting programs with an unwavering commitment to developing well-rounded, open-minded critical thinkers preparing to be the problem-solvers of the future.

In addition, the founders were dedicated to honoring the history of leadership in the Lowcountry by recognizing individuals and organizations that have contributed to the general welfare and development of the community.

“The Foundation for Leadership Education is attempting to put faces and roles into bright lights,” FLE Board Member Beth Grace said in a release. “The time we spend showing our fellow man (and children) what leadership actually involves will be a gift to Beaufort County and to the wider world.”

To learn more about The Foundation for Leadership Education, visit or email

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Featured Photo: Recipient of the 2020 Servant Leader Award: Steve Brown.
Article first published by our media partners at The Island News.