FORT MILL — For one Nation Ford High School senior, doing a good deed was a matter of life or death.
Tyler Gilliam was the grand prize winner of the Do the Right Thing awards for this quarter. He was nominated by Nation Ford teacher Tracy Sims.
Do The Right Thing is a national program that recognizes and rewards exceptional students who choose to be drug and crime free, succeed in school and make a difference in their community. Each quarter, police officers, teachers and other school officials nominate children for “doing the right thing.” This year, Fort Mill had 33 student nominations, the most ever received for a single quarter, said Lt. Ray Dixon, Crime Prevention Officer at the Fort Mill Police Department.
The program has also seen an increase in the number of sponsors since it was started in Fort Mill four years ago, Dixon said.
“It gives us an opportunity to reward good behavior,” Dixon said. “We have so many great kids in Fort Mill. It’s an honor to give back to them for doing what’s right.”
Out of the nominees, nine are chosen as winners and one is chosen as the grand prize winner. Gilliam earned the title this quarter by taking action to help save his friend’s life.
When Gilliam discovered that his friend had taken numerous pills in an apparent suicide attempt, he immediately reported the incident to a guidance counselor. After school officials took action, Gilliam’s friend was taken to the hospital and treated. He recovered, leaving Gilliam thankful he acted quickly.
Having lost his best friend, Clifton Carter, two years ago in a vehicle accident, Gilliam knew he did not want to see another friend get hurt.
“I know what pills can do to you,” he said. “I didn’t want to lose another close friend.”
Gilliam, who received a Kindle Fire among other prizes, said that while the result of his actions was all the reward he needed, he was honored to be recognized by his family and the town.
“It’s amazing,” he said. The program “means a lot to the students.”
Other winners included Fort Mill Middle School sixth-grader Buddy McKeithan, who Fort Mill Middle Principle Tony Caricari nominated for his action in breaking up a fight at school.
McKeithan said the nomination “means a lot.”
His mom, Chasity McKeithan, said she is proud of her son.
“He’s always had a big heart,” she said.
Nation Ford teacher Alexandra Vroon nominated Nation Ford sophomore Brody Hanushek for his dedication to school and willingness to help others.
Hanushek’s mother Kim Hanushek joined his father Phil, two younger sisters, younger brother and grandmother in honoring her son’s achievement.
“I am very proud of him,” she said.
Hanushek said he is “honored to represent National Ford.”
Banks Trail Middle School seventh-grader Tyresa Miller showed her honesty when she turned in Fort Mill Police Department School Resource Officer Gloria Graham’s lost phone. Graham then nominated Miller for her actions.
“I knew if it was mine I wouldn’t want anyone to take it,” Miller said.
Miller’s family showed their support during the awards ceremony.
“She has done what she has been taught to do,” said Sarah Wilson, Miller’s grandmother.
The winners received gift cards and prizes donated from local businesses.