Sheriff Lott, Chief Holbrook receive top community service honors

Award is the namesake of the late Milton Kimpson

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Columbia Police Chief William H. “Skip” Holbrook both received the MILTON KIMPSON COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD for 2022 during the 58th-annual awards presentation luncheon hosted by the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council (CRC), Wednesday, June 22.

Namesake of the late Dr. Milton Kimpson, a cabinet level advisor to Gov. Richard Riley and the first executive director of the CRC; the award was presented (one each) to both law enforcement leaders for their “model examples of leadership” in community outreach and community relations.

“Sheriff Lott and Chief Holbrook have dedicated themselves to community service, not only from a law enforcement standpoint but in terms of simply uplifting our communities,” said Judge Milton G. Kimpson, son of the late Dr. Kimpson. “That’s what my dad did during his lifetime, and I think that’s what the Community Relations Council stands for today and it always has. We are about bringing people and communities together, and so when we were considering worthy recipients, we could think of no two better persons than Sheriff Lott who has worked tirelessly to improve this community, as well as Chief Holbrook. They’re the dynamic duo.”

Kimpson added: “Sheriff Lott is very approachable. In our communities – meaning all communities – he is there. If you need something from law enforcement or really anything else, he’s there. That’s what community is all about. We have to depend on each other and support one another. And he [Lott] simply exemplifies that.”

Lott says that an award presented by an historically public-spirited organization like the CRC and named for “a man for all people” like the late Dr. Kimpson, makes his [Lott’s] receiving it all the more rewarding. “Community outreach and community relations have jointly served as the primary cornerstone undergirding the culture of our Richland County Sheriff’s Department since I was first elected sheriff in 1996,” said Lott. “And for that ongoing effort to be recognized by the leadership of our vitally important Community Relations Council is an honor surpassing all others.”

Lott added: “The award is extra special because it’s named after Dr. Kimpson, who I knew for 40 years. He was someone I admired and respected. He was a great role model for us in public service and someone that I looked to for advice.”

In addition to Lott’s and Holbrook’s recognition, 2022 awards were presented to Dominion Energy South Carolina, which received the Bates-Jones Equity and Philanthropy Award, and S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman received the Hyman Rubin Sr. Distinguished Service Award.

A CRC awards luncheon had not been held since 2019 as a result of the COVID pandemic. Awards were not presented in 2021. But 2020 awards were named and presented during this year’s luncheon, including the Bates-Jones Equity and Philanthropy Award received by Global Core Strategies and Consulting, the Hyman Rubin Sr. Distinguished Service Award received by Dr. Baron R. Davis, and the Milton Kimpson Community Service Award received by both Diane Luccy and Dominik Mjartan.

The presenting sponsors for the CRC awards luncheon were Dominion Energy, Willoughby and Hoefer Attorneys at Law, and Prisma Health.

Founded in 1964 during the height of the nationwide Civil Rights Movement, the CRC was established by business and professional leaders as a means of calming racial tensions across the Midlands.

– Pictured are Richland County Councilwoman Gretchen Barron and Sheriff Leon Lott following the CRC awards ceremony.