A longtime Sumter County employee just received a statewide award for her work with Veterans.
For the last 16 and a half years, Tia C. Baldwin has worked in the Office of Veterans Affairs as the Benefits Counselor.
She has been recognized as the Member of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Counties Veterans Affairs Officers.
“For the outstanding service she provides for the Veterans of Sumter County,” said Valerie Brunson, the Sumter County Director of Veterans Affairs. “I’m so proud of her.”
Brunson was attending a statewide training session in Columbia on Thursday when she accepted the award on behalf of Baldwin.
“It was a surprise,” Baldwin said. “It was something I wasn’t looking for. I didn’t even know Val nominated me – she kept that a secret.”
Baldwin is a Sumter native and self-described military brat who enjoys helping Veterans and their family members navigate benefits and claims.
“I guess coming from a military background, I’m sympathetic to a lot of their needs and wants,” she said.
She’s also found herself helping Veterans with other aspects of their lives as well.
“I haven’t met a stranger yet to come through my door,” she said.
Last year, Brunson was the recipient of the award that Baldwin received this year.
“We feel good that the state recognizes what we do here,” Brunson said.
And now that the Office of Veterans Affairs has moved from its Law Range location to the Sumter County Courthouse, a little re-decorating is going on.
“That’s the best piece of furniture I’ve got in my office right now,” Baldwin said, laughing.