Dec 16 2010

WINGS for Kids founder awarded highest civilian honor

WINGS founder Ginny Deerin accepts the Order of the Palmetto from Chad Walldorf, Founder of Sticky Fingers Restaurants, who has served on the WINGS board since 2007. Photo by Vicki Stone

By Erica Harris

Ginny Deerin was honored with the Order of the Palmetto at a special celebratory luncheon this past Tuesday, December 7, at High Cotton restaurant in downtown Charleston. The award is considered to be the highest civilian honor in the state and is awarded by the Governor to recognize a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to South Carolina.

In a letter from Governor Mark Sanford, Ginny was praised for her tireless efforts and service to many children in the state. She was specifically recognized for her ability to teach kids the value of hard work, how to cope with anger and stress, and for investing a newfound confidence into WINGS children.

“It is no small wonder that WINGS has been recognized by numerous organizations,” wrote Governor Mark Sanford. “For its best practices, and for all you have done along the way to teach thousands of kids to soar, we extend our heartfelt gratitude.”

Ginny began WINGS in 1996, and since its beginnings more than 3,100 kids have benefitted from the program. WINGS is an education program that teaches kids how to behave well, make good decisions and build healthy relationships.

The Order of the Palmetto was presented to Ginny by Chad Walldorf, Founder of Sticky Fingers Restaurants, who has served on the WINGS board since 2007. The first Order of the Palmetto was given by Governor John C. West in 1971.

Ginny will take flight from her role of WINGS CEO December 31 after serving nearly 15 years in the position. Executive Director of WINGS, Bridget Laird, will serve as her successor.

“WINGS was born in Charleston; however, it has always had a national scope,” says Deerin. “It is particularly rewarding to be recognized here in our birth state for our accomplishments. As I move out of my leadership position, I feel a great sense of optimism and confidence that WINGS will continue to grow so that it may serve many more children in the future.”

To learn more about WINGS for kids, visit or call 743-1381.

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