Marianna Black Habisreutinger of Spartanburg has received South Carolina's highest civilian award for her philanthropy and longtime support of veterans.
"She has been a great patriot, standing up for our wonderful veterans," said state Rep. Max Hyde of Spartanburg, who presented Habisreutinger the Order of the Palmetto Monday at the Piedmont Club.
Habisreutinger was nominated for the award by three groups — Upstate Warrior Solution, the Charles Lea Center and the Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties.
"I am so grateful, so fortunate, so blessed," Habisreutinger said. "One of the things I emphasize when I say my prayers is that I'm so grateful to be born in the USA, and I am so grateful to all the men and women who have given us the freedom we have here, starting with the Revolutionary War.
"You know, we could be under the crown of England, so I am thrilled that I was also born in the southern part of the United States in the state of South Carolina, in the city of Spartanburg."
Dr. Craig Burnette, board chair for Warriors Once Again and Upstate Warrior Solution’s Spartanburg Community Action Board. said Habisreutinger is a big supporter of the veterans.
"One of our biggest supporters over the years for Warriors Once Again, of which I am the board chair, as well as other veteran causes is Marianna Habisreutinger," Burnette said.
Warriors Once Again serves as a place for homeless veterans to heal, receive counseling and transition out of homelessness.
Upstate Warrior Solution connects service members and their families to community resources, including housing, employment, health care and education.
The Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties serves residents diagnosed with cancer and their families by providing needed supplies.
The Charles Lea Center serves residents with intellectual disabilities and or chronic medical conditions in Spartanburg County and case management services for men, women and children.
It provides residential homes/apartments, day programs, employment programs, enabling technology programs and in-home support.
A lengthy list of public service in Spartanburg
A graduate of Mt. Vernon Junior College and the University of Mississippi, Habisreutinger taught school in Spartanburg County before marrying. She and Roger married in 1968 and raised three children.
She has served on the Upstate Forever Board of Directors, on the boards of the Charles Lea Foundation, which she founded in 1986; the Cancer Association of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties, Spartanburg Methodist College; Storm Eye Institute of the Medical University of South Carolina; and Mary Black School of Nursing Advisory Board of the University of South Carolina Upstate.
In addition, she is a Governor of the Piedmont Club and founder and co-chair of the Executive Guild of the Hope Center for Children.
She has served on numerous other boards, including Mary Black Memorial Hospital and the Mary Black Foundation, the Spartanburg County Foundation, and the Urban League of the Upstate. She also served as the president of the Junior League of Spartanburg, the Ellen Hines Smith Girls’ Home, the board of the St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Board of Visitors of the Medical University of South Carolina.
In 2011, she was named South Carolina’s Mother of the Year, an affiliate of the American Mothers, Inc. She said she is blessed by her husband, Roger; daughter, Anna H. Converse; sons, Paul and Charles; and two grandchildren, who all live in Spartanburg.
Habisreutinger is the granddaughter of Dr. Hugh Ratchford Black and Mary Snoddy Black. He came to South Carolina from Kings Mountain, North Carolina and Mary Snoddy grew up on her family’s farm on Jordan Creek near Wellford.
They married in 1889 and had five children. In 1894 they moved from Wellford to Dean Street in Spartanburg, where he helped establish his first hospital in 1921.
In 1925, he opened Mary Black Hospital, which he named in honor of his wife. Mary Snoddy Black died in 1927, and Dr. Black died in 1933.
Bob Montgomery covers Spartanburg County politics and growth & development. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Spartanburg's Habisreutinger awarded Order of Palmetto for service