Angel Oak Award

The Angel Oak Award was established by the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club in 2012 to recognize a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to the people or quality of life of Johns Island, Wadmalaw Island, Kiawah Island, and/or Seabrook Island. As a part of the award, the Exchange Club makes a $5000 donation to a local charitable organization or organizations of the recipient’s choice. The recipient will receive a remembrance and his or her name will be inscribed on the Angel Oak Permanent Trophy.

The award is recognized at the annual Angel Oak Awards Banquet at the Seabrook Island Club that includes a live band, guest speaker, wonderful meal and, best of all, great fellowship with Club members and their guests totaling over 150 people.

Any South Carolina resident performing volunteer services related to our local islands’ activities is eligible for the award. The award focuses on service to the target communities and, while service over time is considered, current year contributions are essential. Again, this award is for volunteer service to the people of the islands and not for those professionals who may also provide invaluable services.

Each of the Angel Oak Award winners are described below:

2020 Award

Mary Hill is the Chair of the Sea Island Hunger Awareness Foundation and also serves on the Board of Habitat for Humanity. She is also a very engaged member of her church, the United Wesleyan Methodist Church and has established a Meals at Home Program for members of her church. For her contribution to improving the lives of people on Johns and Wadmalaw Islands, she was recognized as the 2020 Recipient.

2019 Award














Recipient: John Sandy

Mr. Sandy has served as the volunteer Field Coordinator for the Sea Islands Water Wellness Mission (WWM) for three years. WWM is a Sea Islands Hunger Awareness Foundation Program. Its sole mission is to put in place new wells and filtration systems for the hundreds of people on Wadmalaw and Johns Islands who suffer from impure water and dysfunctional wells.

2018 Award

Recipient:  Allen Reed

The 2018 recipient was Mr. W. Allen Reed who created and manages the Angel Oak Summer Reading Program at Angel Oak Elementary School on John’s Island. In his remarks, Mr. Reed described how a combination of struggling students, the chronic teacher shortage, increased classroom size, and low funding levels led to underperformance in reading and math for students at Angel Oak Elementary. This was compounded by the learning loss associated with the summer break.

To date, over 300 students have participated in the program and the results have been impressive, with more than 80 percent of participating students improving their reading and math test scores. In 2018, 19 percent of participating students showed a greater than one-year improvement in their reading and math skills after completion of the program.

2017 Award

Recipient: Dr. Victor Agusta

The 2017 Angel Oak Award winner was Dr. Victor Agusta.  He has served as a volunteer primary health care physician at the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic (BIFMC) since it opened its doors in 2008. The BIFMC has the mission of understanding and serving the health and wellness needs of uninsured, low-income adults who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw, and James Islands. The clinic has served over 4000 patients since it opened in 2008 and has over 350 patient visits each month.

As one of the original volunteer physicians at the free clinic, Dr. Agusta dove right into the unfamiliar territory of treating an impoverished population. Rising to the challenge of working with a diverse population, he developed a deep sense of interconnection, patience, and compassion that earned him the trust and respect of both patients and colleagues alike. During a normal week, Dr. Agusta will see patients every Wednesday afternoon and sometimes as needed on Monday evenings. Since joining BIFMC, he has retrained himself as a first rate primary care physician and now spends 5 hours weekly on urology and primary care continuing medical education for state licensing. He has been instrumental in supporting the growth of the clinic as the number one recruiter of volunteer doctors and nurses.

2016 Award

Recipient: Shirley Salvo

Shirley is the founder of some and current leader of a broad set of charities providing services to those on Johns and Wadmalaw Islands.  Shirley’s passion for feeding the hungry is well known in our community.

2015 Award

Recipient:  Todd Gerhart

Todd was chosen to receive this Award in recognition of his many contributions  to youth programs on Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island. Partnering with Backpack Buddies, Todd organized the Chili Cookoff at Bohicket Marina and raised $15,000 to help supply weekend meals to children who may well otherwise go hungry.

2014 Award

Recipient: Bertha Smalls-Middleton

Bertha has been the leader of the Wadmalaw Island Community Center providing extensive support to the residents of that island community.

2013 Award

Recipient:  Steve Koenig 

The picture above is of Steve and his family who joined him for the Angel Oak Award dinner.

2012 Award

Recipients: Dr. Arthur Booth and Dr. Charlie Davis  

Charlie and Arthur and Charlie were cofounders of the Barrier Islands Medical Clinic.  This organization has provided free medical services to residents of Johns and Wadmalaw Islands serving more than 4000 patience since the Clinic was opened.