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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2005

A HeART for our Troops
COLUMBIA, SC – As part of the “America Supports You” effort established by the Department of Defense, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has joined forces with the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture in support of a project to honor the men and women who protect our freedom. The effort was recognized by Richard Eckstrom, Comptroller General and State Campaign State Director, along with Major General Eli Wishart, Campaign Co-chairman, in a ceremony on the steps of the Wade Hampton Building. Hugh Weathers, Commissioner of Agriculture, said, “The sacrifices and service of the men and women in our Armed Forces is a reminder that “freedom isn’t free.” Never has been. Never will be.”

Together, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture have created a project through Fisher House Foundation to assist families of those who have been wounded in action or those who are seriously ill. Similar to the Ronald McDonald House program for the families of seriously ill children, Fisher Houses are “homes away from home” for families of patients in military hospitals around the world. There are 32 Fisher Houses located on military installations and medical centers around the world. Over 95% of Fisher House Foundation revenue goes to program expenses. The other 5% goes to administration and fundraising.

To show our support and, at the same time, bring awareness to the importance of agriculture as an essential part of life, the Advocates for Agriculture is selling our HeART of Agriculture note cards, produced from the Department’s South Carolina Art and Agriculture Watercolor Collection. The Collection consists of 49 watercolors painted by South Carolina artists depicting various aspects of the state’s agriculture.

Four of the paintings which depict barns in the state were reproduced into sets of 12 note cards and envelopes. Half of the revenue from the sale of the note cards goes to the Fisher House Foundation to stock their kitchens with food and other essentials or for whatever is most needed. The other half will be used to defray the cost of production and postage.

The South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture is a non-profit organization designed to improve marketing and promotion of South Carolina agricultural products and of the industry of agriculture. Ronnie Summers, President of the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture, said, “This project not only supports our troops, but it also brings awareness to the fact that the safe production of food is vital to the security and freedom of our country.”

Commissioner Weathers added, “We deeply appreciate all of the patriotic citizens of South Carolina for supporting our troops through this project and other worthy endeavors. And, we thank those who provide the food, fiber, and shelter essential for sustaining life.”

For those who would like to participate in this effort, they should send a check or money order for $5 for each set of note cards payable to the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture and mail to: Advocates for Agriculture, PO Box 754, Columbia, SC 29202. For more information about the South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture, contact Reggie Hall, Secretary-Treasurer, at 803-936-4409 or mmoulder@scfb.com.


 

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