If 91-year-old Lacie Shelley is not doing something, she is usually looking for something to do.
“You have to make yourself do, and do the best you can for as long as you can,” she said.
Frames on the wall of her home in the Pleasant View community display awards she and her late husband, J.C. Shelley, received for their efforts to help others and make Horry County and South Carolina better. She received the latest one in March when she was named Horry Electric Cooperative’s 2013 Rural Lady of the Year.
She has been active in Women Involved in Rural Electrification since that service organization was established in 1981 through Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc., and served as the first president of the HEC WIRE chapter. WIRE’s motto is People Helping People, and its members do that in many ways, including supporting homeless shelters and children’s homes.
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“There are approximately 42 million members of electric co-ops throughout the United States. Many of these are rural ladies who have worked on the farm and served as pillars of their communities. Each of them are equally deserving of recognition such as this. It is a great honor that mother was selected for this prestigious award from Horry Electric,” said her son, Johnny Shelley.
Lacie Shelley has lived and worked on farms in the Pleasant View and Pisgah/Cedar Creek communities all of her life.
“I love the farm. You watch things grow. It’s a good place to raise your children,” she said.
“She’s the greatest mother a son could have,” said her son, the Reverend James Shelley. “She has been a good role model for her sons and grandchildren, and an excellent mother-in-law. Christ has been the center of her life.”
She and her husband raised their three sons on the farm. She lost him in 2000 and one of her sons, Dr. Randy Shelley, in 2010.
“The Lord helps you,” she said, as she talked about facing those losses.
The sign at the farm entrance reads, “Shelley Farms – in God We Trust.”
Faith came early to Lacie Shelley. Her father died while her mother was pregnant with her. Her mother remarried, giving her a “wonderful” stepfather and a combination of siblings who worked hard on a farm and rode to church in a mule-drawn buggy.
“My parents taught me to always go to church, and I did,” she said. “I have lived my life as a Christian, and I’ve always known that God has given me a gift, and that is to love everyone. If you look hard enough, you can love anybody,” she said.
She was the first female deacon at Pleasant View Baptist Church, where she remains active. She has taught Sunday School for more than 70 years, sang in the choir more than 60 years, and has served in many other capacities.
She has held numerous service-oriented volunteer positions. She currently serves on the Horry County Council on Aging board of directors and enjoys activities at the Green Sea Floyds Senior Center.
Her shelves are lined with jars of vegetables and fruits from her garden and the farm, and she is still canning. When she was a student at the old Floyds High School, there was a cannery there. People from the community would go there to can their “good” meats, she said, and she continued to do that after she was married.
She once worked hard to can a whole cow, and those cans were on the porch when their house caught fire, while she and her husband were working in the field, and burned.
Johnny Shelley and his son, Cam Shelley, now own and operate Shelley Farms.
She no longer has to labor, but there are things that she enjoys doing, such as working her garden and cutting grass on her riding lawnmower. She also enjoys her Jack Russell terrier, Jacie, and taking care of her chickens.
“I have 15 chickens, and I get 14 eggs a day,” she said.
Shelley not only gives of her time in volunteer work, she also gives many other things, including cakes she bakes, quilts she makes, eggs, canned goods and more.
And she gives God the credit for all the good things in her life, including her loving family.
“I stop sometimes and say ‘God, why are you so good to me?’ ”