COLUMBIA — Sue Summer of Newberry was presented a 2016 Outstanding Community Service award at the Masjid as Salaam Education and Building Fund Awards banquet on Nov. 5.
Masjid AsSalaam is a Columbia-based mosque noted for its commitment to the improvement of life in the community it serves.
The award recognized Summer’s lifelong volunteer work, including almost 20 years on Foster Care Review Board 8a, which served Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and Newberry counties. Summer chaired the board for several terms, and while she was a member, the board was honored as South Carolina Review Board of the Year for 2013.
A native of Newberry, Summer has worked for The Newberry Observer, Radio Station WKDK, Newberry Magazine, and Newberry College. Through the years, her newspaper columns and radio interviews have promoted service clubs, agencies, and community initiatives to improve the quality of life in Newberry.
She has also given of her personal time and talents.
In addition to her work with the Foster Care Review Board, Summer has supported the Newberry County School Supplies Drive and its sister project to provide coats for needy children.
Summer has helped to raise funds for the Newberry Community Players with a downtown ghost stories tour developed with Newberry historian Ernest Shealy, as well as an original play that she co-wrote with her daughter Buffy Glover, “Swift Strike Summer.”
She is a certified artist-in-residence in literary arts with the South Carolina Arts Commission, and she has volunteered as a storyteller for several local schools, clubs and the Springfield Place retirement community.
For five years, with the support of The Newberry Observer, Summer has been writing about the James Brown estate and why his $100 million education charity, the “I Feel Good” trust, has not yet awarded scholarships.
Thousands of needy students in South Carolina and Georgia stand to benefit from the trust, and no other newspaper in the nation has followed this story on their behalf as closely as Summer and The Observer have.
Other organizations and initiatives Summer has supported through the years include services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; childbirth classes and parenting information; Newberry High School Band Parents; Orton Dyslexia Society; Vietnam Veterans of S.C.; AAUW; S.C. Women’s Consortium; and Media Women of S.C.
Summer is a graduate of the Leadership America program.
At Central United Methodist Church, she is a storyteller for Vacation Bible School and helps with children’s Bible study. Summer formerly taught a junior high school Sunday School class.
She and her husband, Henry, hosted the Interfaith Dialogue dinners in Newberry, where people of many faiths discussed their beliefs in understanding and acceptance.