South Carolina General Assembly
115th Session, 2003-2004

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H. 4631


Concurrent Resolution
Sponsors: Reps. J.R. Smith, Clyburn, Clark, Perry, D.C. Smith and Stewart
Document Path: l:\council\bills\pt\1837ahb04.doc

Introduced in the House on January 28, 2004
Introduced in the Senate on January 28, 2004
Adopted by the General Assembly on January 28, 2004

Summary: Honorable Sue R. Townsend


     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
   1/28/2004  House   Introduced, adopted, sent to Senate HJ-45
   1/28/2004  Senate  Introduced, adopted, returned with concurrence SJ-17

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)



Whereas, Sue Townsend of Aiken County began her career as Aiken County Coroner in 1982 when then- Governor Richard Riley appointed her to serve as interim Coroner. Two years later, she was elected by the people of Aiken County and continued to serve as Coroner for the next twenty years; and

Whereas, Ms. Townsend was the first female coroner in South Carolina and through her leadership guided the Aiken County Coroner's Office through numerous changes and improvements; and

Whereas, in 1989, she began the White Cross Program designed to combat vehicle deaths by painting a white cross on the road where a traffic fatality occurred, serving to help families of lost loved ones to locate the site of an accident to grieve, mark the site for investigation, and provide a grim reminder to other motorists to obey the speed and safety laws in the area; and

Whereas, Ms. Townsend was named Public Citizen of the Year by the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for her diligence in protecting citizens, her handling of child death investigations, and the White Cross Program. She was also recognized by the late Senator Strom Thurmond on April 30, 1990, for starting the White Cross Program, which has spread to ten counties in the State; and

Whereas, in 1991, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Commission Against Drunk Driving for her innovative and persistent efforts to educate the youth of the State on the dangers of drinking and driving through staging mock drunk driving disaster scenes at high schools; and

Whereas, a mother of two and grandmother of three, Sue Townsend has tirelessly supported the foster care system and, because of her determination to help children who suffer from child abuse, she rallied the community to support the concept of foster care. With her help in bringing attention to the issue, Aiken County has experienced a one hundred percent increase in licensed foster homes and a network of services to support it; and

Whereas, because the infant death rate in Aiken County has always been a concern of Ms. Townsend, she chaired the Infant Mortality Task Force, later known as Growing into Life. With this organization, she became keenly aware of the high number of infant deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and, checking her records, discovered a disturbing pattern. Ms. Townsend's data showed over eighty percent of those deaths occurred when the infant had been placed to sleep on his stomach, in fluffy bedding, in a parent's bed, or other unsafe bedding; and

Whereas, Ms. Townsend raised public awareness of this situation, before the national Back to Sleep campaign began, by going to the media and releasing her findings. Her efforts resulted in the formation of the MOMS and COPS Program, the only one of its kind in the nation, which recruited community-policing officers to talk to women in the community about prenatal care and the proper and safe sleeping positions for infants; and

Whereas, pre-term labor resulting in infant death became a serious concern of Ms. Townsend and she worked with Growing into Life to establish a twenty-four hour pregnancy care line in labor and delivery at local hospitals, earning the innovative program the NOVA Award, the International Healthier Community Award, the Models that Work Award, and the All-America City Award; and

Whereas, among the many worthy causes Sue Townsend took the lead on and championed, she also was proud to serve as President of the South Carolina Coroners Association where she was instrumental in developing a training system for the state's coroners. She lobbied for the question of training to be placed on the ballot in 1994 and won her long-fought battle. Ms. Townsend then designed and held the very first statewide training session for coroners in South Carolina; and

Whereas, the citizens of Aiken County and the State of South Carolina are proud to recognize Sue Townsend for her twenty-two years of service as Aiken County Coroner and her dedication to so many worthy projects over those years that served to make Aiken County and the State of South Carolina a better place to live. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the South Carolina General Assembly commend and congratulate the Honorable Sue R. Townsend of Aiken for her many years of unselfish public service as Coroner for Aiken County and extend best wishes to her upon her retirement

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable Sue R. Townsend.


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