Melissa Buckner celebrated | News | The Press and Standard

by | July 28, 2016 5:00 pm

Last Updated: July 27, 2016 at 3:43 pm

By GEORGE SALSBERRY
gsalsberry@lowcountry.com
Representatives of approximately 30 faith-based organizations filled the meeting room of the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market on the evening of July 21 to celebrate the zeal Melissa Buckner brought to growing a healthier Colleton County.
The event, entitled “A Celebration of Work,” recognized Buckner for her work as director of Eat Smart-Move More Colleton County.
The planners had wanted the celebration to be a surprise — it was. “I was definitely surprised, I had no idea what was going on,” Buckner said. ”My husband, Dwayne, said we were going out to dinner and didn’t tell me where.”
During her five years as director, Buckner worked with a number of target groups to address the nutrition and exercise issues that were adversely affecting the health of county residents. Much of that work was with the county’s African-American churches.
“God used Melissa to bring needed information to us in  regards to our physical bodies.” It was, Vera M. Bodison suggested, “Buckner’s ministry.”
“I enjoyed my time working with Eat Smart-Move More and all the wonderful people in Colleton County that I had the opportunity to work with,” Buckner said. “It was definitely a rewarding experience.”
Buckner added, “I truly love the people of Colleton County and all the people I worked with in promoting healthy eating and active living. The event last night was a demonstration of how many wonderful people we have here in Colleton County.”
A grassroots group of members of those churches, brought together by Bodison, organized the celebration to show their appreciation to Buckner.
“It was a leading of the Holy Spirit that guided me to do it once I understood that the grant was terminated and Melissa was no longer available to help us,” Bodison said.
Bodison said she quickly learned that other church members who had worked with Buckner felt the same way. “As we began to meet and come together in love and appreciation for Melissa, it seemed to be so much bigger than what we anticipated.”
“We had to do this, it was like it was ordained,” Bodison said.
Buckner, accompanied by her husband, Dwayne Buckner, and their three children sat at the head table in the packed meeting room as the audience heard from Willie Rabb, Sandra Davis and Bodison. Brenda Fields performed “Total Praise.”
As part of the program Stencil White presented a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Melissa At Work.”
Deacon Ben Teasdel Jr. provided the invocation and Pastor Joe Lee Singleton conducted the blessing of refreshments. Dwayne Buckner provided the closing prayer following the reception.
“To see the outpouring of love was a wonderful thing and I appreciate everyone who planned the event and attended the event. I truly appreciate their thoughtfulness and kindness,” Buckner said.

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