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Below is a guest blog from Jessi Knight, Sen. DeMint's grants coordinator, and Danielle Gibbs, state projects director.
Today Danielle Gibbs and I are guest blogging on Ashley's page. We handle grants for the senator and recently spent a few days in the Lowcountry. Tuesday evening we spoke to about 50 people at the Charleston Area Grant Professionals meeting. CAGP has been in existence for 10 years and serves as a forum for grant professionals in Charleston to meet, exchange ideas, and form partnerships. Danielle and I spoke about federal funding opportunities, where and how to apply, and how we can assist.
Wednesday we held a workshop at the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce that included a Grants.gov e-seminar. Grants.gov is the warehouse for all federal grant opportunities, and the e-seminar explained in detail how to register, find, and apply for federal grants. Cookie Sprouse from the Chapin Foundation also spoke on private funding resources.
We certainly enjoyed our time in Charleston and Myrtle Beach and look forward to our next trip.
State Projects Director Danielle Gibbs provides instruction at a recent grants workshop in Myrtle Beach.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Museum aboard the USS Yorktown (photo courtesy of Patriots Point).
Here in Charleston we have the unique distinction of housing the National Medal of Honor Museum and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. This is no small honor for our community – we are charged with preserving and communicating the stories of our nation’s most courageous citizens. Citizens who wear our nation’s highest award for military valor.
The museum is located at Patriot’s Point, aboard the historic aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.
PBS will be airing a special on these remarkable individuals and their stories November 5th. After a late night of watching election returns and pulling for our particular candidates, what a great way to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made that allow us to vote in peace and freedom! I encourage everyone to check their local listings for times at http://www.pbs.org/medalofhonor/.
Medal of Honor recipient Paul Smith serving in Iraq (Credit: Sgt. Gary Coker Personal Collection)
Medal of Honor Recipient Tibor Rubin displays his medal. (Credit: Roger Sherman)
Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day serving as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. (Credit: Bud Day Personal Collection)
Google made its South Carolina debut last week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their newest data center located in Mt. Holly Commerce Park, and it is an impressive $600-million investment in the Lowcountry.
I can already tell that South Carolina and Google are going to make a great match. For starters, Google staff were wearing logo t-shirts where the “L” had been replaced with a palmetto tree. We love our state flag! I was especially excited to see the buckets of boiled peanuts that greeted both the locals and the Google employees who were from far away and visiting the area for the celebration.
In just one decade, Google became an industry leader and shaped the way people across the globe search the web. By choosing Berkeley County as the location for one of the nation’s most advanced data storage facilities, Google is expanding employment opportunities and nourishing a high tech community right here in the Palmetto State. As Google begins its second decade, Berkeley County will no doubt continue to build on Google’s reputation for innovation and creativity.
Constituent Service Representative Amanda Scott and Regional Director Tim Lollis attend the opening of the new Florence VA Clinic.
Any DeMint staff member can tell you that constituent service is the Senator’s highest priority in South Carolina. We have a team of highly motivated constituent caseworkers, and one of our leaders here in the Charleston office is Amanda Scott. Amanda has been with Senator DeMint for three years and has found a passion for helping our state’s veterans. She details some of her work below:
Veterans’ assistance is a top priority for Senator DeMint which means it’s my top priority as well. Since I began handling veterans’ and military casework, I’ve watched as the VA healthcare system has grown by leaps and bounds. This past Wednesday I attended the opening of a VA Clinic in Florence. There was a great turnout from the community, and the facility’s healthcare providers were even able to help an emergency patient while I was there. This particular clinic will provide ancillary care for patients who would normally have to travel to the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. I found it interesting that the clinic includes an eye exam room with special paint to facilitate the exams and the ability to instantaneously send medical scans to Dorn for review and consultation. I have faith that the VA strives to take good care of its veterans and I’m happy to know that our office is there to support them in their efforts.
I caught a glimpse of the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) 45 foot-tour bus when it stopped in South Carolina on Friday for a visit to the Port of Charleston. Currently traveling the country on the “America Wins With Trade” tour, representatives from the CEA joined the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce at the Wando Welch Terminal of the Port.
The 30 state tour, which kicked off last week in New York City, is promoting the importance of trade to U.S. jobs and economic growth.
Local officials who attended the event emphasized the benefits of trade to residents of the Palmetto State. “Here in South Carolina, international trade means real jobs to real people,” said Bernie Groseclose, president and CEO of the SCSPA. “In fact, more than 400,000 men and women in our state owe their jobs to trade.”
Pictured above are Bobby Collins, Chairman of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Bernie Groseclose, President and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority and Dan Cole of the Consumer Electronics Association
Many of us rejoiced at the news that three American military contractors were freed from their Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) captors just two days before Americans celebrated Independence Day. What you may not have known was that those three Americans were flown home by a crew from Charleston Air Force Base on a C-17 Globemaster III. Charleston is home to the largest C-17 base in the world and is responsible for supporting U.S. activities in South America. Those planes, and more importantly the individuals who support them, deliver hope and freedom with every mission.
When asked about some of the things they missed from home during their years in captivity, the men mentioned cookies, soda and pizza. Cpt. Heidi Bucheit from the 15th Airlift Squadron just happens to have a long-standing tradition of making home-baked cookies for her crew, and her fellow crew members were able to scrounge up some frozen pizzas and soda, so the Americans feasted on some of their favorites as they made their way back home.
We say thank you, and we’re proud of the following Team Charleston heroes:
Capt Heidi Bucheit, Capt Jon Fruge, Capt John (Jace) McClelland, Airman Jason Golec, Airman First Class Wes Spring, TSgt Brad Hudson, SSgt Bryan Ball, Senior Airman Adam Konstanzer, SSgt Matt Pease, and SSgt Matt Perez.
Throughout the year, but most especially in the summer, Sen. DeMint's Charleston office plays host to interns looking to experience life working for a U.S. senator. From time to time we like to shine the spotlight on these rising young stars who add so much to the combined efforts of Team DeMint.
Introducing Lauren Slaughter:
Hello from Charleston! This is my first summer in Charleston and I could not be more excited to be interning in Sen. DeMint’s Lowcountry Office. After spending last semester interning and taking classes in D.C., not only did I fall in love with the city, but also with government, the legislative process, politics and public service. I guess you could say I caught “Potomac Fever.”
Coming home to Charleston, I have enjoyed the other side of life in the Senate: constituent service. Our work in the Charleston office deals more directly with individual constituent needs and helping them see results in an often frustrating situation. Not only is the work an educational experience, as I learn policies and procedures when dealing with the different federal agencies, but it is also very rewarding.
I am a rising senior at Boston University majoring in international relations with a focus in East Asian studies and global systems. I love to travel and have always had a heart for helping others both in my local community and abroad. This summer I have the amazing opportunity to do both: first, as an intern here in the senator’s regional office, and then as an Olympic volunteer in Beijing. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and represent the state of South Carolina and our nation in such a capacity.
The Lowcountry continues to be a leader in law enforcement by leveraging local and federal expertise, training and equipment in smart and innovative ways. On June 16, I attended a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) welcoming ceremony at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). (Enough acronyms for you? Hold on, there are more.) ICE and FLETC were kicking off the training of the first class of 287 (g) officers in FLETC’s new state-of-the-art training facilities.
Thirty-seven deputies and officers representing eight law enforcement departments from around the country were welcomed by Wayne Anderson, FLETC deputy assistant director, Charles N. DeVita, ICE director of training, Robert K. Baer, ICE deputy assistant director in charge of the ICE Training Academy, Jim Pendergraph, ICE director of the Office of State and Local, and Beaufort County Sheriff J.T. Tanner (pictured left to right).
Over a four-week period, the 287 (g) program will provide in-depth training for officers on various enforcement topics including immigration law, intercultural relations and how to use the Department of Homeland Security’s databases to help identify criminals and immigration violators. When asked about the program, Sen. DeMint said: “287 (g) is a powerful tool for the state of South Carolina and for our local law enforcement agencies. I support the ongoing effort of South Carolina to address our illegal immigration problem through stronger partnerships between our sheriffs, the South Carolina Department of Corrections and ICE.”
It was great to see such partnering between Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies from around the country taking place right here in Charleston.
Throughout the year, but most especially in the summer, Sen. DeMint's D.C. office plays host to several interns looking to experience life in our nation's capital. Most hale from South Carolina, while a few trickle in from other parts of the country. Over the next few days we plan to spotlight the interns who have joined our staff for the month of June.
Introducing Frank Giguere of Summerville, S.C.:
Hello everyone! After visiting Washington, D.C. as a tourist a few times I am excited to be able to return and work as an intern for Sen. Jim DeMint where I get to see a side of our nation’s capital that I have never seen before. I am thoroughly excited to experience the political workings of the U.S. Senate here on the Hill. Washington, D.C. has proved to be a fascinating city thus far and I am looking forward to exploring it further.
I am currently a student at the University of South Carolina where I am studying political science with a minor in criminal justice. I come from a military background as both of my grandfathers served in the U.S. Armed Services. My mother also served, and my father and brother are currently serving. I have a personal interest in international relations and foreign affairs as that is my focus of study in political science. As a rising senior I am absolutely thrilled to be working in the office of Sen. DeMint.
Team DeMint (Ian Headley, Kelly Long, Chris Socha, Jennifer Rook and Ashley Holbrook)
poses with our fearless leader for the day, Sgt. LeMarche.
Last month, congressional staffers were invited to attend “Marine Day” in Quantico, Va. Several DeMint staffers joined up with a few Graham staffers to spend a day getting a better understanding of the role our U.S. Marines play in defending our country. To say we were impressed barely covers it. We heard stories from men and women who had deployed one, two, even three times. We saw the state-of-the-art equipment our Marines use to protect our freedom, and we even got hands-on experience with some of that equipment.
Some of us may have woken up that Friday morning with more working knowledge of the Marine Corps than others….but we all left that Friday night with a heightened understanding of what it means to be a Marine and renewed appreciation for those who give up so much to serve our country. We are proud of our Marines and we were honored to spend the day with them!
We feasted on “delicious” Meals Ready to Eat produced in Mullins, S.C.
(You haven’t lived until you’ve seen people fight over a strawberry milkshake that consists of powdered milk and lukewarm water.)
South Carolina native, Brig. Gen. Mike Regner, welcomes visitors to Quantico.
112 Custom House
200 East Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401 Map It!
About the Regional Director Ashley Holbrook recently returned to her hometown of Charleston after spending five years in Washington, D.C. She previously worked in the White House and on the confirmation team for Chief Justice John Roberts. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!