2018-11-08 / Front Page

Poland receives highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, on Nov. 2


Tom Poland, shown here in front of the Georgetown County Museum is the recent recipient of the Order of the Palmetto. Tom Poland, shown here in front of the Georgetown County Museum is the recent recipient of the Order of the Palmetto. South Carolina author, editor, and speaker Tom Poland has re­ceived South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.

First awarded in 1971 by Gov. John C. West, the honor is be­stowed in recognition of a per­son’s achievements and contribu­tions to the state. Poland received the award Friday, November 2, at the State House.

As the author of several major books on South Carolina, as well as others, Poland is a significant voice in heralding the unique heritage of the Palmetto State and its natural beauty. He travels back travels back roads, looking for forgotten places, captivating people and vestiges of bygone times, many of which appear in his works. They include South Carolina —The Natural Heritage; South Carolina—A Timeless Jour­ney; and Reflections of South Car­olina, Volumes I and II, all pub­lished by the University of South Carolina Press, as well as well as Classic Carolina Road Trips and South Carolina Country Roads, published by the History Press of Charleston.

Another book, The Mystique of the Carolina Bays, will be pub­lished by USC Press in 2019. He authored Transforming South Carolina’s Destiny, the history of the technical college system, and Save the Last Dance For Me, the history of the shag and the Soci­ety of Stranders. The University of South Carolina Press published Georgialina, A Southland As We Knew It, of which Pat Conroy wrote, “Tom Poland brings the fading and forgotten rural South back to life with a deeply felt rev­erence for the power of story to preserve our shared past.”

A resident of Columbia since 1974, Poland was an adjunct pro­fessor for 20 years at the Univer­sity of South Carolina, College of Information and Communications. A former editor of South Carolina Wildlife Magazine, his articles ap­pear in numerous regional period­icals and newspapers. A member of the South Carolina Humanities Speakers Bureau, he is invited fre­quently to give presentations on state culture and history. He also serves on the SCETV Advisory Council.

Currently, Poland is editor of Shrimp, Collards and Grits, a lifestyle magazine published in Beaufort Bluffton. He has been published in more than 1,200 magazine features and columns. A native of Lincolnton, Georgia, he received bachelor’s and mas­County ter’s degrees from the University of Georgia. Poland’s family traces its ancestral roots to South Caro­lina’s Edgefield County.

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