CBE 365: Big 7 Association honored for 30 years of community impact

BARNWELL COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Black Excellence 365 recognizes inspiring black individuals and organizations in the CSRA all year round. Recipients are honored with the Mary L. Jones Black Affirmation Award. For February, we honor the Big 7 Association.

“We had the determination to keep on doing what we wanted to do to make this community a better place,” Vice President, Big 7 Association Dwayne Eubanks said.

Founded by seven softball coaches and managers in 1989 at the Diamond Dale Community Softball Field in Barnwell County, the Big 7 Association began with a vision. “We met in the dugout out there and said, ‘Hey, you know, let’s go this direction’. So that’s how we finally came up with Big Seven.” Big 7 Association President James Wallace said.

Starting with a focus on sports, the organization expanded to include youth programs, senior citizen initiatives, and scholarships. “To give our kids a chance to be productive, to make sure they can get into schools because we found a lot of ’em that had a lot of financial struggles trying to obtain the college dream,” Member David Kenner shared.

Despite health challenges among many members, the Big Seven remains dedicated to uplifting the community. “Just a group of guys in the community right here for Barnwell County have been doing what we do for over 30 years. And that’s a blessing,” Eubanks said.

Shawn asked, “So, do y’all butt heads? I’m pretty sure 30-plus, right?”

“Oh yeah. Butt heads, you can see the scars,” Eubanks said laughing.

One standout event organized by the group is the Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet. To start, they gave students $300 at three local schools. “Last year, we were able to give 17 $1,000 scholarships. So, over the years, this program has really grown,” Treasurer Ben Carr added. “Every dime that we’ve taken in this group, we’ve given it back out in some form or fashion to a senior citizen or a student.”

Its mission, “One helping One to uplift all,” sparks success stories. Past scholars return to inspire, speak, and even pay it forward by launching their scholarships. “We had a young man that we give a scholarship some years back and he went to Vanderbilt and became a doctor. And he’s one of our keynote speakers. And when he came back, I mean, his whole family was there to support him. they started a scholarship in honor of their mother,” Wallace recalled.

President James Wallace reflects on how the organization helps seniors by hosting banquets and selecting a king and queen. “The members would elevate themselves as to be the cater for these queen members, king, and queen. They would go cut their grass, take ’em shopping, and take ’em out, eat, and whatever. That was a job, you know, how seniors are, or we did that for several years.”

Representative Lonnie Hosey recognized this group twice at the SC State House. “We are all dedicated and what we do, we not doing it for show,” Eubanks added.

The Big 7 Association strives to make a positive impact in Barnwell County, which is why they are honored with this month’s Black Affirmation Award.

This year’s banquet is on February 24 at 6 p.m. at Barnwell Elementary School.
Tickets are $25. Tables are available.

More info: big7association.org

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