Black earns fifth ‘Flame’ award

PICKENS — “Our roots are here, and I never wanted to live anywhere else,” said Jack Black, Pickens’ fifth recipient of the I Fan The Flame award. “I love the people, the friendliness and the town itself.”
Born in Pickens County in 1928, Black has spent his lifetime in Pickens. Married 58 years to wife Della, they have lived in the same home for 56 years. A graduate of Pickens schools, Black “played a little football in high school.” His two sons and grandchildren live in the area.
When Black was 15, he became a Pickens volunteer fireman and served in that department for 52 years. Asked about his most memorable firefight, he recalled when the Methodist church burnt.
“Despite the size of the fire, I can remember it still being one of the coldest nights in my memory,” he said.
In addition to volunteer firefighting, he also served in the South Carolina National Guard for 40 years and as an elder at Pickens Presbyterian Church.
Retired now for just three years, Black’s service to the city, county and state, over a 66-year period, has included working for the highway department for 14 years and many years as the Pickens Street & Sanitation Department superintendent. Elected to the city council, he served in that capacity for 13 years and then spent 16 years as the Pickens County Court bailiff.
“I have many great memories,” he reminisced. “Perhaps the most memorable moment was when I met then-presidential candidate George W. Bush on Main Street.”
He also is glad to join the growing list of I Fan The Flame winners.
“It was great to see last month’s ‘fan,’ Don Gravely,” Black said. “I was actually one of his first shaving customers back in the mid-forties. After all these years, he still cuts my hair today.”
I Fan The Flame 2012 Platinum sponsors include the historic city of Pickens and Great Oaks Dental. East Main Treasures and Pace & Reeves BP, Inc., are this year’s bronze sponsors.
The award program will be expanded in the future, to recognize the many contributions of various academic, civil, religious and charitable organizations towards “fanning the flame” in Pickens.