2008-09-12 / Front Page

Publisher receives the Order of the Silver Crescent

By Mimi M. Maddock Mimi@TheColumbiaStar.com

Sen. John Courson presents Dr. Warner Montgomery, publisher of The Columbia Star, with the Order of the Silver Crescent. Sen. John Courson presents Dr. Warner Montgomery, publisher of The Columbia Star, with the Order of the Silver Crescent. Warner Montgomery received the Order of the Silver Crescent, S.C.'s highest honor for volunteer and community service. Sen. John Courson presented him with this award on behalf of G ov. Mark Sanford at a luncheon at the Shepherd's Center of Colum bia September 10, 2008.

My brother Warner Montgomery has continually proved Thomas Wolfe wrong. Yes, you can go home again.

Warner loves Columbia. He grew up in Forest Hills, played his first football games at Melrose Park, attended Schneider School, Hand Junior High, and Dreher High School where he was captain of the football team and president of the student body. Also, during high school Warner made a promise to himself that he would go down the longest river and the largest river in the world.

After high school, Warner attended the University of the South, Sewanee, later transferring to USC graduating in 1961. He earned an MA, MPh., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He taught history and coached at A.C. Flora High School where he started the first organized high school soccer team in South Carolina. He also started and was the principal of the Avanti School, a school for at- risk students in Richland One. He was assistant principal of C.A. Johnson High School and a professor at Allen University. Outside of Columbia, he has been a professor at Ohio University, Brock University, and the Niagara Institute.

Warner's travels began when he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach in Thailand where he not only did his service as a volunteer but worked as a medic in a leper colony. It was during this time that Warner became addicted to travel. As a traveler, Warner has been an ambassador for Columbia and the United States. Whereever he is, he lives with the people, eats their food, and experiences their culture. During his travels he has made lifelong friends and has brought several of them to Columbia to visit. One he even brought from Guinea, Africa, to Columbia for a cataract operation.

This addiction to travel and his experience as an educator were the perfect combination to take Warner to West Africa where he was the principal of the International School of Douala, Cameroon for two years. He helped coordinate a group of students from Richland School District One to visit West Africa. This program continues today.

Warner began an education program in Ontario, Canada, where he lived for several years.

Warner did come home to Columbia to stay in 1989 as general manager of The Star Reporter joining his father, Miller Montgomery, publisher, and sister, Mimi Maddock, editor. Warner began volunteering by teaching his course "Adventure Travel" at The Shepherd's Center of Columbia. He has taught every weekly session since 1989. He continues to organize fundraising events for The Shepherd's Center.

While working at The Star Reporter, whose name changed to The Columbia Star in 1998, Warner continued to travel and write about his adventures. In 1991, Warner married Linda Sosbee, a perfect match for his interest in education and travel.

For the past year, Warner has been involved with the Historic Columbia Foundation as a volunteer teaching "The History of Columbia" and leading tours. He has written a series of 75 stories on Pineville, S.C. and its connection to people in Columbia and all over South Carolina. He also published books about the communities of Shandon, Eau Claire, and the history of Columbia City schools.

Warner has a wide range of interests. He is a member of the Explorers Club, the Columbia Rotary Club, the Torch Club, the Loblolly Club, the South Carolina Press Association, and the Paul Redfern Aviation Society. He organized the 39er's Club, his Dreher High School Class of 1957, which meets monthly for lunch.

Warner's awards include Journalist of the Year, 2004, for the SC Chapter of ABOTA and 2008 Journalist of the Year for the southeastern region of ABOTA; Sam Adams Award, 2004, from the S.C. Libertarian Party; the Flag Expedition Award, 2006, from the Explorers Club, the Superintendent's Award, 2002, Richland School District One; and Professor of the Year, 1970, from Ohio University. He also has received several awards from the S.C. Press Association.

Yes, he did keep the promise he made to himself in high school. He traveled down the Nile and the Amazon Rivers. For other travels, see sidebar.

Along with all of Warner's activities and being publisher of The Columbia Star, his latest adventure is farming on his and Linda's land in Horrell Hill. He rides his tractor and tills the land hoping to have a fine crop next spring.

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