New member of Hartsville City Council works to improve community
HARTSVILE, S.C. – Hailing from South Bend, Indiana, Tré Gammage set out to make a difference in his adopted home of Hartsville as soon as he arrived.
His first job was as a residence life coordinator at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and in January 2017, he formed Gammage Enterprise LLC., providing organizational consulting service to managers, education leaders and others. He is also a public speaker.
Gammage said his grandfather was an entrepreneur with a business based on service of the same name.
He said he had always wanted to work for himself as his grandfather had.
His business is focused on educational consulting.
“I support teachers and administration with classroom management,” he said.
Gammage just received his Global Career Development Facilitator license allowing him to teach middle school students career planning. He works primarily with a charter school, the Pee Dee Math, Science and Technology Academy in Lee County. He said their focus is on engaging rural students to be prepared for success in a global economy.
He continues his service to the community as a representative for District 1 in Hartsville on the City Council.
“When I moved here, I saw a deficit in the Butler Heritage area and saw an opportunity to make a difference,” he said. “God laid out a path where I was able to get a house in the right district.”
He ran against longtime council member Adlene Graham.
“She was elected (to the council) the year I was born,” Gammage said.
Gammage said he knocked on everybody’s door in his district twice seeking support. By canvassing the neighborhoods, he also learned a lot about the area.
He said he contacted about 1,600 people, but only 750 were registered to vote and able to vote in the election. That was a long, hard process, he said.
On Election Day, Gammage said, only 108 people voted,
As a member of the City Council, Gammage has continued Graham’s work through the African-American Cemetery Committee to improve the Marion Avenue cemetery in the community.
Gammage chairs the Community Engagement Committee, which is looking into creating pocket parks in his district. He said the committee is working on identifying space now and imagining how it would look as green space with picnic tables, a friendly park with outdoor exercise equipment, a garden to take care of and outdoor activities.
In the Butler Heritage District Study that was done several years ago, he said, one suggestion for revitalizing the district was to create pocket parks where everyone would be able to walk from their home and be within a half-mile of a park.
He said the Butler Heritage District already has Pride Park and Byerly Park, but more green-space areas are needed.
“We are trying to make the space happen and are looking at three or four spaces,” he said.
He said he is always thinking about different ways to engage the community.
“The greatest need is engagement,” he said. “You have got to be invested and engaged in the community.”
He said what he wants to accomplish during his time on council is to raise the standard of the Butler Heritage District and increase access to opportunity.
“We have to provide that opportunity to people for growth,” he said.
“Our downtown is full, so we need to add to other areas like the Butler Heritage District,” he said. “There is a lot of potential from Carolina Avenue to Russell Road.”
He said there is an opportunity to change the dynamics of that district.
He said the community needs to have more conversations about what is going on in the community and address the issue of crime.
“I expect discussions and conversations about it,” he said.
“The opportunities I’ve had in Hartsville are the same opportunities that need to be created for the next generation,” Gammage said.
Gammage said he had a decision to make toward the end of his college career that would chart the course of the rest of his life.
He played football at Miami University in Ohio, and he could play a fifth year of football, study abroad his last semester or graduate.
He decided to study abroad.
After he spent his final semester in Luxembourg (at a sister campus), it was important to him to keep chasing his purpose. Gammage found his purpose in being his best self every day and choosing service above self.
One of his college professors told him about two job opportunities, one of which was at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.
“I interviewed for both,” he said. “This one paid the most, and Hartsville was a place I had never been before.” He said it was while at GSSM that he started connecting with the community and finding ways to make it better.
Gammage said he wanted to be a public speaker. To further his goal, he joined Toastmasters, a nonprofit educational organization.
Gammage set another goal for himself to compete in the Toastmaster’s 2016 World Championship of Public Speaking and represent the Hartsville club. He won the S.C. Speakers Championship for the State District 58 and made it to the semifinals, the top 100 speakers.
He has continued his competitive spirit as a celebrity dancer with Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County to help raise money for the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Gammage is engaged to Carmen Taylor. They met in Ohio in college. The are getting married in 2019.