Posted in Articles

Martial arts superstar joins fellow fighters at post-Thanksgiving soiree

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Keith Vitali, the former #1-ranked Karate champion in the U.S. and star of many well-known martial arts movies, joined several fellow members of the South Carolina Black Belt Hall of Fame and their wives at the home of Tom and Virginia Ann Mullikin for a first-of-the-season Christmas party, Sunday, Dec. 1.

“It was a great way to enjoy the first day of Advent while everyone was still in town following the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Mullikin, who was inducted into the S.C. Black Belt Hall of Fame (SCBBHOF) earlier this year. “These men are not only nationally and internationally recognized tournament fighters all, but what they have done in terms of bringing recognition to South Carolina is immeasurable.”

Mullikin added, “What many may not realize is that some of the best fighters in the world hail from this state, thanks to the martial arts culture that has been created here largely by these men seated around this table and others.”

Seated at front is Mullikin, followed by (rounding the table counter-clockwise) Kershaw County Councilman Jimmy Jones, Keith Vitali and Kathy Vitali, U.S. Marine Col. (Ret.) Steve Vitali and Rhonda Vitali, Virginia Ann Mullikin, Mike Genova and Shelley Genova, Jeanne Brutschy and Bruce Brutschy, and Mara Horton Jones. Continue reading “Martial arts superstar joins fellow fighters at post-Thanksgiving soiree”

Posted in Articles


Event to raise money in support of Army-honoring park and visitor venues at Fort Jackson, S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The GATEWAY TO THE ARMY ASSOCIATION – a non-profit organization with a mission of designing, funding, and building Fort Jackson’s Centennial Park – will host its first-ever Centennial Park Fundraiser, Wed., Nov. 13 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction followed by a live auction at 7:00 p.m.

“This is going to be an exciting evening, a lot of fun, auctioning-off a lot of great items from parachute jumps to an autographed Clemson national championship football signed by Dabo Swinney,” says Gateway president and chairman Marty Wells, a retired U.S. Army command sergeant major. “Not to mention all the local celebrities and friends and supporters of the largest Army basic training facility in the nation; with all proceeds going toward Centennial Park on Fort Jackson.” Continue reading “GATEWAY TO THE ARMY ASSOCIATION HOSTS NOVEMBER FUNDRAISER”

Posted in Articles

South Carolina Run raises funds for dogs

Pictured L-R are Joni James, pres. of the Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation; Sheriff Leon Lott; and Julie Chavis, Foundation treasurer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – More than 400 runners many with dogs joined Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept. (RCSD) for the 9th annual K9-supporting GUARDIANS OF THE NIGHT 5K run beginning at the S.C. State Fairgrounds, Sat. July 27.

The nighttime run, which began at 10:30 p.m., began inside the fairgrounds with runners exiting the main gate before heading toward and winding through the Rosewood neighborhood and adjacent communities for 3.1 miles (5K). All proceeds from the run went toward the forthcoming purchases of protective vests for RCSD K9s (police service dogs), their veterinarian bills and other needs not covered by the County.

“Much of the costs of caring for the K9s are incurred by individual deputy K9 handlers,” said Capt. Maria Yturria, director of RCSD’s public information office. “This annual run helps with that. And the event is growing in terms of popularity and numbers of participants each year. We had hundreds of runners participating this year not counting several hundred of their family members, friends, and spectators.”

Sheriff Lott said, “This was and always is a fun night for all. It is a huge help and support for our K9 teams, and it is but another opportunity for us to involve the community in the things we do, for citizens to interact with our deputies and they with them. And the kids always love seeing the dogs.” Continue reading “South Carolina Run raises funds for dogs”

Posted in Military History

Congressman, Civil Rights activist, Lt. Gov. join hands in racial reconciliation

CAMDEN AND CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S Congressman Trey Gowdy (standing) joined famed Civil Rights activist Dr. Cleveland Sellers, S.C. Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, and nearly 100 guests for a reception and dinner at the home of Tom and Virginia Ann Mullikin in Camden, Mon., June 17.

The dinner was attended by numerous state legislators, members of the judiciary, business leaders and others (pictured L-R are Sellers, Gowdy, Mullikin, and Evette). The evening concluded with a vigil memorializing the nine persons slain at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church exactly four years earlier; and served as the kickoff event for the 2nd annual RECONCILIATION RIDE from Columbia to Charleston.

“We began this two-day memorial event last year in honor of my very good friend, the late S.C. Senator Clementa Pickney, who was among the nine victims of that terrible attack in 2015,” says Mullikin. “We established the Reconciliation Ride as a means of advancing racial reconciliation and engaging all in this complex, difficult and necessary conversation going forward.”

Three separate destination-events followed Wed., June 18, including a tour of the University of South Carolina’s Civil Rights Exhibit in Columbia. Guests then boarded a chartered bus for a short journey to – and a tour of – the historic Liberty Hill AME church enroute to Charleston. Arriving in Charleston, guests enjoyed a visit to Emanuel AME Church followed by dinner and a memorial service. Continue reading “Congressman, Civil Rights activist, Lt. Gov. join hands in racial reconciliation”

Posted in Articles

Governor leads Floodwater Commission in Marion County clean-up

Debris-clearing effort, tree plantings, and meetings held in flood-ravaged areas

MARION COUNTY, S.C. – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, U.S. Congressman Tom Rice, nationally syndicated journalist Armstrong Williams, state legislators, members of the South Carolina Floodwater Commission, military veterans, members of the judiciary, university presidents, ROTC cadets, and Boy Scouts joined hands with scores of other volunteers in a collaborative clean-up of highway culverts, ditches and low-lying areas in Marion County, Sat., June 15.

Left to right: Maj. Gen. George Goldsmith, Col. Steve Vitali, Gov. McMaster, Floodwater Commission Chair Tom Mullikin, and Col. Bill Connor in Nichols during the June 15 event.

The day-long series of events – including tree plantings, briefings by state and federal leaders, and visits to the towns of Nichols, Sellers, Marion, and Mullins – were part of an overall flood-fighting effort and a strong message of hope delivered by the Governor and his Floodwater Commissioners with the assistance of the S.C. Dept. of Transportation (SCDOT) to residents in one of the hardest-hit regions of the state in terms of recent flooding.

“We are sending a very clear message across the state and frankly the nation that South Carolina under the leadership of Gov. McMaster is preparing to meet any and all challenges from extreme weather and flooding like what we have experienced since 2015,” says Tom Mullikin, chairman of the S.C. Floodwater Commission. “What the people of Marion County have experienced is unimaginable to most folks living and working outside of flood-prone areas. We are letting everyone know that we are not simply talking, but doing something about it, working aggressively to mitigate any future floodwater events.”

Governor McMaster says, “When we work together, we can accomplish great things. And when you have this kind of talent and drive to draw on, all you have to do is come up with an idea and say, ‘let’s get started.’ And that’s what we’ve done.” Continue reading “Governor leads Floodwater Commission in Marion County clean-up”