TRAVELERS REST, S.C. – A Travelers Rest historian and longtime advocate for the city was awarded South Carolina's top honor at a presentation ceremony held Monday night prior to the start of the city council committee meetings.
Dorothy "Dot" Bishop, who most recently has served as the immediate past president for the Travelers Rest Historical Society, was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. The award was presented by S.C. Dist. 17 Rep. Mike Burns, who was instrumental in the nomination process.
Established by Gov. John C. West in 1971, the Order of the Palmetto is presented in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service, and contributions on a national or statewide scale. It honors individuals who have "selflessly given of their time, resources and goodwill through a variety of different causes and pursuits to the benefit of their neighbors, fellow citizens and the fabric and prosperity of South Carolina," according to the award's guidelines.
"A lot of people have recognized your accomplishments over the years," Rep. Burns said to Bishop prior to presenting the award, adding that state level representatives responsible for the award's administration "[thought] she deserved the highest civilian honor in the state, the Order of the Palmetto."
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Dating back to 2008 when Bishop was serving on the town's Bicentennial Committee, she became an original board member and first president of the Travelers Rest Historical Society, where she continues to work and volunteer to this day. Later that same year, Bishop received the Citizen of the Year award at the annual banquet of the (then) Travelers Rest Area Business Association, recognized by her peers for her accomplishments and contributions, most notably with the Society.
In 2010, Bishop worked with others, including Lamar McCarrell, to form Travelers Rest's first Spirit of '45 event, which was held at city hall for about 100 attendees. The event grew into the model Spirit of '45 event for the entire state.
In April of 2014, Bishop was instrumental in getting the John Plyler plaque installed along the Swamp Rabbit Trail across from the high school. She also served as membership chair for the Travelers Rest Lions Club in 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, Bishop was involved with the South Carolina Humanities Council "Museum on Main Street Project," which included a "Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" exhibit that traveled to six locations across the state.
Most recently, Bishop has been instrumental in the restoration of the historic Spring Park Inn, property which is being protected from development and transformed into a museum and park in downtown Travelers Rest, just behind the gazebo.
"Our whole town is the most wonderful place in the world," Bishop said. "To represent Travelers Rest is a true, true honor."
In addition to Rep. Burns, also present at the ceremony were Sen. Dwight Loftis (Dist. 6), Rep. Patrick B. Haddon (Dist. 19), former county councilman Joe Dill, Greenville County councilman Steve Shaw (a past Order of the Palmetto award winner and someone influential in Bishop's nomination process), and Travelers Rest Mayor Brandy Amidon.
(Editor's note: In addition to the Travelers Rest Tribune archives, historical notes in this article are derived from "History of Travelers Rest: A Sense of Place" by Marian Cooper Brian, which is available on the Travelers Rest Historical Society website here.)