By Sam Holland, South Carolina House Of Representatives for Island Eye News
Mike Sottile, recently retired State Representative and former Mayor and Council member of the City of Isle of Palms was awarded The Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Henry McMaster in a ceremony in the Governor’s office in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Order of the Palmetto is considered the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. It was first awarded in 1971 by Gov. John C. West. It recognizes a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina. The award comes in the form of a certificate that, in part, reads: “In grateful recognition of your contributions and friendship to the State of South Carolina and her people, I do hereby confer unto you the Order of the Palmetto with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.”
The award came as a surprise for Sottile; he was invited to the Governor’s Office to witness another ceremony and when that was completed, McMaster announced that there was an additional order of business, that an individual needed to be recognized. The stunned Sottile listened as McMaster outlined the many accomplishments of the Isle of Palms native including Boss of the Year award bestowed by the Charleston Insurance Women in 1987 with McMcaster joking that being Boss of the Year was the one to be proud of.
Sottile is a graduate of Bishop England High School where he played football, basketball, and ran track. He entered the U.S. Air Force in September 1968 and served for two years at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and two years at Bitburg Air Base in Germany. He was awarded The Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
Following his service in the Air Force, Sottile returned home to the Isle of Palms and attended classes at Baptist College of Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) while working in the family owned business, Worth Agency. He worked in the real estate, insurance and property management fields becoming the Manager of the Agency and Broker In Charge.
In 1977, he married Loraine Johnson of Conyers, Georgia. They have one daughter, Amy, and one grandson, Anthony Gay.
Sottile became active in the Independent Insurance Agents of Charleston, serving as treasurer for four terms, secretary, vice president, as president in 1986, and on the Executive Committee for a number of years.
He received the Outstanding Service Award 1982-1984; President’s Award in 1988; Outstanding Service Award 1988-1990 and was named Boss of the Year by the Charleston Association of Insurance Women in 1987.
Sottile also served on the Board of Directors of the Independent Insurance Agents of South Carolina from 1986-1989.
In March 1990, Sottile was elected to the Isle of Palms City Council to fill an open seat. He sought this position following the destruction of Hurricane Hugo and its impact on the island. He felt he could make a difference in the rebuilding of the island.
Sottile served on the City Council until elected Mayor in 2000. During this time he served on the CARTA Board (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority) representing the Tri-County area; he was a member of Berkley Dorchester Charleston Council of Government; and the Charleston County Rural Planning Committee. He was active in the Municipal Association of South Carolina, serving on their Board of Directors for four years.
Sottile was elected to represent District 112 of the South Carolina House of Representatives in November 2008. In 2020, he opted not to run for reelection.
During his time in the House he served on the Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Labor, Commerce & Industry Committee as second vice chairman, and the Ways and Means Committee. On Ways and Means he was a member of the Committee on Higher Education and Chairman of Licenses, Fees, and Other Taxes sub-committee.
Sottile is a former member of the Joint Committee on Homeowners Associations; Joint Committee on Annexation; and Joint Committee on Military Affairs. He is a recipient of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate Award. As a member of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation he served as Vice Chairman and as Chairman of the House Delegation.