News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, October 6, 2010
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---October's Time To Care Award winner is well known in the North Augusta community. She's a longtime city commissioner and a member of the city's Sports Hall of Fame due to her volunteer work as a coach. But if there's one thing you should know about Pat Carpenter, it's that she loves kids.
And that's where we find her on this sunny afternoon at Hammonds Ferry, coaching a cheerleading squad.
"OK lets go y'all children, y'all just get right in here," she calls out to the little girls in ponytails.
Generations of kids have grown up with Mrs. Pat as their coach. James Johnson's wife had Pat Carpenter as a cheerleading coach, and now his daughter does too.
"You can't say enough about Mrs. Pat," James says. "She's in everything in the community: football, baseball, cheerleading, school, teaching and everything else."
He's not exaggerating. Kim Butler has a daughter on this squad too. And Kim remembers getting a call from Mrs. Pat on Christmas Eve.
"She was organizing bicycles and toys for kids, and there were some last-minute children who had a need, and she spent her Christmas Eve making sure they had surprises Christmas morning," Kim recalls.
Meanwhile, Pat's girls are at full volume.
"We got spirit, yes we do, we got spirit, how 'bout you?"
But in Pat's case, it's a spirit of giving. Her daughter, Fran Risse', says her Mom grew up that way.
"Well, she grew up somewhat poor," Fran says. "She had one teacher, Miss Wiley, who helped her. And she appreciated her so much, and she said when she became an adult, she wanted to do the same thing for kids."
Growing up poor was one thing, but something changed for Pat during a visit to the Connie Maxwell Orphanage in seventh grade. Pat remembers it well.
"When I got there , I just had so much love for those children, even though I was just a child myself," she says.
Eventually she ran for office, and the voters keep sending her back. She can't do anything in North Augusta without running into somebody she knows.
"How y'all doin?" Pat calls to people walking nearby on the Greeneway.
As for the little Steelers practicing their cheers today, they can't vote yet, but they already have a friend in office.
"I'm on city council, and I feel like I represent the whole city, but I represent these young people and children," Pat says.
The cheerleaders are still going strong. "S-C-O-R-E, Score Steelers score!"
And just like any good team player, Pat Carpenter is quick to give credit to her personal coach.
"Well, first of all, my Lord keeps me going. Every morning I get up and I pray 'God give me strength,' 'cause I know a lot of days I put too much on my plate. That's what I tell God: 'I know I don't have a lot of sense, but give me that strength each day.'"
Pat says she only takes one day off, and that's Sunday. But even then she and her husband are busy getting a busload of kids to and from church.
Pat Carpenter has won just about every award there is, including Citizen of the Year twice. We're pleased that she can add the Time to Care Award to the list.
And of course, we want to thank our Time To Care partners who make this award possible: Subway, Troy University and Ashley Furniture. If you want to nominate someone for our Time To Care Award, you can do that right here.