Owens receives state’s highest civilian honor

Courtesy photo

Rep. Phil Owens, second from left, receives the Order of the Palmetto from Sen. Larry Martin. Also pictured are Sen. Thomas Alexander, left, and Rep. Davey Hiott.

COLUMBIA — Local South Carolina House of Representatives member Phil Owens was recently awarded the state’s highest civilian honor by Governor Nikki Haley.

Owens, an Easley resident who represents District 5 in the State House and is the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, was honored with the Order of the Palmetto at a reception in his honor in Columbia.

The award was presented by Sen. Larry Martin, Rep. Davey Hiott and Sen. Thomas Alexander.

The Order of the Palmetto, first awarded in 1971, is considered to be the highest civilian honor and recognizes a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the state of South Carolina. Past recipients have included singer James Brown, author Pat Conroy, tap dancer Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates and many others, including past governors.

The award comes in the form of a certificate or plaque, that, in part, reads:

“In grateful appreciation of your contributions and friendship to the State of South Carolina and her people. I do hereby confer upon you the Order of the Palmetto with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.”

Owens’ wife, Lynn, and daughter, Diana, attended the event, along with S.C. House members, members of the Education and Public Works Committee, staff and friends.