Greater Easley and Powdersville News

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Date ArticleType
11/19/2020 Press Release
Jim Garrison Honored as Recipient of Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award

Duke Energy and the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce has honored Jim Garrison as the recipient of the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award. Individuals who make the commitment to help others are essential links in bringing our communities closer together. Duke Energy proudly sponsors and presents this award to recognize individuals who use their time, talent and compassion to positively affect the lives of others in their communities or in the workplace. Recipients foster a culture of citizenship and service that acts as a catalyst for others to become involved in civic and social activities. 

Many of us enjoy reading a good book and it becomes more enjoyable when the book is about the life of someone we know. But on a rare occasion, the book becomes an inspiration for action. 

A hometown Easley girl, Kimberly Hampton served as a Captain in the United States Army ultimately sacrificing her life for the country she loved so dearly and defended so bravely. She served two years in South Korea, and also in Afghanistan as part of the United States forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. Hampton was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina before becoming the commander of Delta Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment prior to the unit's deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in September 2003. Hampton died when her OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter was shot down in Iraq on January 2, 2004. Captain Hampton was the first female military pilot in United States history to be shot down and killed as the result of hostile fire. She was also the first female combat casualty in Iraq from South Carolina.

In November 2014, Jim Garrison read the book, Kimberly’s Flight, which summarized the life and military career of Captain Kimberly Hampton. The book was co-authored by Ann Hampton, Kimberly’s mother, who wrote the book so when she got older and couldn’t remember details from the past, someone could read the book to her to recall the many accomplishments of her daughter. That touched Jim Garrison’s heart and sparked a vision to create a lasting memorial to Captain Hampton, as well as all of our local military veterans. 

Jim recruited others to join his efforts. The first item of business was to find a decommissioned OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter. That daunting task was only followed by a long list of other action items and needs. But Jim’s vision and tireless efforts never faltered. His efforts spanned over 5 years and involved people from as far away as Alabama, Arizona and Washington, DC. On March 2, 2020, his efforts came to fruition with a formal dedication ceremony for Operation Dragonfly and Veterans Memorial Walk to honor the memory and legacy of Captain Kimberly Hampton. 
       
Duke Energy and the Easley Chamber thank Jim for his vision and dedication to Operation Dragonfly, an incredibly meaningful gift to present to Kimberly’s family, our veterans and our community. Jim’s personal remarks at the dedication ceremony truly capture why he’s the recipient of this special award. Jim shared, “I’m a blessed man. I’ve always been taught to give back, to leave the world in a better place than you found it. I’ve tried to use my God-given talents through my church and now my community.” 

Please join Duke Energy and the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce in honoring Jim Garrison as the recipient of the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award.