Thanks for learning a little more about me! I spent most of my childhood in and around where my parents grew up, Augusta, Georgia. I started school in a tiny nearby town called Wrens. It was like the small towns you hear stories about- everyone knew everyone and people didn't lock their doors at night, some when they went on vacation! I went to school with the same 25-35 folks my whole life, until we moved. Our town was so small, we had no junior high. In 7th grade, you went to the high school. On weekends and the summer, I'd leave home around 10am to join friends for the adventure of the day, check in for lunch, and come home when the sun went down. We played a lotta baseball and football.
This is where I tell you about the pinnacle of my athletic career. I was a three-year starter for WPEH Radio aka the Mean Green Machine for the color of our jerseys, who achieved unparalleled dominance in the Wrens Dixie Youth Baseball League from 1982-86, winning three league championships. My last year, I pitched. But don't think this is another lawyer starting the chest-thumping. My pitching career ended in humiliation, at a an all-star tournament in Swainsboro, where the home team unceremoniusly shelled me in a 16-1 loss. Let me assure you, whoever said there's no crying in baseball never, ever played the game. I still remember standing alone on the mound, looking at that scoreboard and that massive 16 runs, tears streaming down my face.
But life moved on, and so did we. In ninth grade, Dad took a job in Charlotte, so we moved to Rock Hill, where I graduated from Northwestern High in 1992 and did not make the baseball team. It was a dramatic departure from Wrens- Northwestern had almost as many students as Wrens had people! But I made good friends, and I'm thankful for the educational opportunities that came my way.
For college, I shocked all my family and friends by not attending the University of Georgia. It's my family's school, as UGA claims as alums my father, grandmother, great uncle, and many others stretching back a long, long time. But I knew myself, and I knew UGA wasn't the best place for me: I don't thrive in large environments. So I made my best first decision for me: I headed to Spartanburg to go to Wofford.
My Wofford experience and the lifelong friendships I developed from it molded me to be a better man. I graduated in 1996. I worked in Spartanburg for a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch for a year, long enough to figure out that wasn't for me.
But the law was. I graduated from law school at the University of South Carolina in 2000. Shortly before that, at a pledge brother's wedding in Spartanburg, the single most important encounter of my life occurred. A close friend of the bride turned my head, and I never looked back.
Her name's Amy. I call her Mamie. We married in 2002. On meeting her, my great uncle turned to me and said, "How'd you do that?" A close friend's father perfectly summed up my spectacular luck: "Sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn." [I must add, Mamie's no acorn, she's pure gold].
Here's how my legal career started. After law school, I worked as a law clerk for State Circuit Court Judge Rodney Peeples in Barnwell, helping him research legal issues to decide cases and manage his caseload. He held court mostly in Aiken, Bamberg, and Barnwell. After a year there, I returned to the Upstate in 2001 to practice law in Easley.
In 2005, I joined this firm. I'm grateful to practice law here. I'm most thankful to be part of the Spartanburg community, where we raise our four children. Yep, that's a lot. We like to joke God's got more confidence in us than we do. Here's our lineup: Addie [I call her Bunny] born 2007, Jack born 2009, and [here's where Divine Confidence really comes in] our twins Luke and Sally [I call her Sweet Pea] born 2013, collectively called the Deuce.
We belong to First Presbyterian Church here in town, where I've served twice as a deacon. Over the years, I've also served Spartanburg on the boards of the local Red Cross and TOTAL Ministries, a mission funded by local churches to feed, clothe, and support the less fortunate.
In 2018, I got appointed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster to serve on the Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center Board. I got named board chairman in 2022. As we know from far too many recent tragic events, crumbing mental health is a looming problem in our world. Way too many people suffer untold agony in silence, and I'm hoping to use this position to help folks confronting mental illness. To me, these illnesses are no different than the common cold- you can't help you got it, but it can often be helped before it gets dangerously worse. I'm honored to be asked to help some folks in our community who are in bad pain and desperate need of help.
I've been honored to be an elected leader within the legal profession as a two-term member of the board of directors for the state criminal defense lawyers association and chairman of the personal injury and insurance committee of the South Carolina Bar.
For my entire legal career starting in 2001, I've worked to help people who got hurt from others' carelessness or on the job, and defend people accused of crime, including DUI. I've tried numerous cases to a jury verdict, from car accidents to residential construction to assault and battery with intent to kill, and DUIs. I've also tried several workers’ compensation hearings.
The best thing about being a lawyer is I get to be a voice for folks who might not otherwise have one. I am very proud of the people I help and the causes I represent.