Rev. Herman Wallace does "all I can, while I can"
As a pastor, community volunteer and retired school administrator, Rev. Dr. Herman Wallace has dedicated more than 30 years to making a difference in Barnwell County.
Wallace, who is originally from the small Williamsburg County town of Lane, said his motivation to be so involved comes from John 9:4: "I must work the works of him (God) that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
"That sums it all up," said Wallace of "doing all I can, while I can."
Wallace's service to the county began in September 1977 when he moved here to work as a guidance assistant at Barnwell High School. Over the years, Wallace went on to serve as teacher, assistant guidance counselor and assistant principal of BHS and Guinyard-Butler Middle School.
"Education is the key," said Wallace, who retired from the school system in 2006 as the principal of GBMS. "Like a key opens a door, education opens up many opportunities."
Wallace knows the value of higher education. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and Master of Education in guidance and counseling from S.C. State University.
That's why, through all his school roles, he tried to make a difference in the lives of students by helping them realize their full potential by going to college. This includes helping them find scholarships, developing a good work ethic and setting "meaningful goals."
"I wanted to let them know that if I can do this, they can too," said Wallace of achieving his career goals. He finds it rewarding when former students come up to him years later to share their success.
Though he's now retired from public education, Wallace has extended his educational calling into the community by volunteering with various educational groups, including the school improvement councils and parent teacher student organizations for all three Blackville-Hilda public schools. He is also a mentor in the schools and serves on the District 19 PLUS (Parents and Leaders United for Success) Committee.
"If we want a viable community, then it's going to take the commitment of each individual to do his or her part," said Wallace, who encourages everyone to be involved. "It doesn't happen in and of itself."
Since 1997, Wallace has also served as pastor of the more than 100-year-old Tabernacle Baptist Church in Blackville - a position that became full-time after his retirement from the school.
Leading the church, which was organized in 1894, is another means for Wallace to serve his community - this time spiritually. "I want to make a difference leading someone to eternal life by way of Christ," said Wallace, who holds a doctorate of theology.
In 2004, the congregation moved into their current building on Dexter Street (Hwy. 78). It contains the stained glass windows and pews from their old church, a dilapidated building right behind the new building that was the county's first black brick structure. It's a move Wallace calls "a blessing" because it's allowed the church to grow and better serve their community.
Whether entering the ministry, education, or some other career, it's important to follow God's plan, said Wallace, who originally did not follow his calling into the ministry. Using the well-known Bible story of Jonah getting swallowed by a whale after running away from God, Wallace said, "Running away finally caught up to him."
If the path in life doesn't seem clear, Wallace encourages folks to have faith and trust God to guide their lives.
Wallace is married to the former Perry Brooker, who runs Brooker's Restaurant in Barnwell with her sisters. They have one daughter and son-in-law, Doris and Wayne Beard of Blackville, who both work at Denmark Technical College, and one grandson, Timothy Beard, 6.
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