MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Boone Hall Plantation owner Willie McRae received South Carolina’s highest civilian honor Monday.
Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey presented the award to McRae at a ceremony at Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation. The award honors South Carolinians for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide recognition.
“It means everything in the world to me,” McRae said of the award. He calls Boone Hall Plantation the love of his life, adding that it has always been “a magical, mystical place” for him.
Summey read the nomination for the award at Monday's presentation, praising McRae's efforts to place a conservation easement on Boone Hall Planation.
“Located in the heart of Mount Pleasant, it could have easily been sold for development into thousands of residences,” Summey said. “Instead, Mr McCray wanted to ensure the permanent protection of the lands of beauty, history and agriculture as well as provide public access for future generations.”
Summey said McRae has contributed his time and resources to the East Cooper community for his entire life.
“He’s brought Southern culture to life for countless visitors,” he said. “By maintaining a working plantation and farm, he’s entertained and educated generations of school children throughout South Carolina by teaching them about their heritage and history.”
The Order of the Palmettto is a once-in-a-lifetime achievment.