Don Hancock was in his second term as Chairman of Saluda County Council when he passed away in August, 2017. He personified servant-leader because he led quietly, wanting no recognition of his accomplishments, which he knew were the results of team work.
Those accomplishments were many. At his last council meeting, the first reading was held for an ordinance that would eventually lead to the building of a 650 acre solar farm, a $115 million investment. During his terms two smaller solar farms were build, Roya Foods opened in the old Milliken plant, and EMS became a county department. Don was active in the Saluda County Chamber of Commerce, Saluda Lions Club, American Legion Post 65, and served as a Boy Scout scoutmaster. (Don earned his Boy Scout Eagle Badge as a teenager.) As a member of Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church, Don served on the Finance Committee. Shortly before his death, he was elected as Chairman of Upper Savannah Council of Governments.
The son of the late Ernest and Helen Hancock, Don learned work ethics early in life. His parents owned Hancock Poultry Company and each school holiday and summer Don helped them. His parents instilled in him the value of an education. After graduating Saluda High School in 1970, Don received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University, followed by a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee and Masters in Business Administration from The College of William and Mary.
In 1975, Don was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps. Upon his completion of active duty which took him around the world, he joined the Marine Corps Reserves and was called back into active duty after the attacks on the World Trade Centers. He served in Iraq. He retired as a Colonel in 2005.
A couple of months prior to his death, Don talked with his sisters, Charlyn H. Staubes and Ann H. Coker about his desire to rewrite his will to specify that Saluda County would benefit in three ways: economic development, education, and improved quality of life. The Charlie Foundation was created by Don to come into being at his death. He was specific in its goals and the desire that it live into perpetuity. Don accepted that his death was imminent and talked of how there was so much more he wanted to help Saluda County accomplish. The Charlie Foundation is to do just that.
He designated his sisters, along with his niece and nephews, Katie Staubes Baturin, V. Keller Staubes, Jr., Justin Coker, and Tyler Coker as board members with the directive to carry out his wishes. Alan L. Metts, their cousin, has been added to the board.