“I will not let this pandemic define me. And I won’t stop donating or giving back to our community,” declares the bravely defiant auto dealership owner and Lake Murray humanitarian, Bill McDaniels.
“I respect fear, but I do not live in fear, because when you trust in God, He never forsakes you. We chose to move away from fear, and by doing so, fear is becoming less a problem. We’ve been blessed, and haven’t had to lay off any employees.”
This owner of six auto dealerships in the Columbia and Charleston region told his staff they were going to “fight through this thing together, and put it in their rear-view mirror.”
As a result, Bill and his crews jumped on the optimism gas pedal.
Bill recently applied this personal operating logic to an annual golf fundraiser he hosts, which this year would have been the 29th one he held in Columbia. The annual combined McDaniels Golf Classic and Gala benefits the Lexington Medical Center Foundation to fight cancer.
This year’s golfing events specifically were going to pay for those locally underinsured, patients who could not cover the costs of tests or treatments for melanoma, colon, breast or lung cancers.
When the COVID-19 teed off a public lockdown, Bill says they attempted to return the financial donations already submitted for the fundraiser. However, donors insisted that the group keep their donations. Bill admits it was amazing.
The donors’ collective effort led to raising $244,565 for an event that couldn’t even physically happen!
Last year, Bill says the 2019 Golf Classic raised $675,000 in gross receipts. “The power of this fundraiser is that the hospital pays the salaries of the foundation staff, so that every dime from loyal supporters goes straight to the care of local patients.”
“I love this community and what it stands for,” says Bill, who donated to 14 different charities last year.
He says it was honestly sad not to hold the Golf Classic, which is the most successful and longest-running one in Richmond County. “We set the bar really high, and I will fight against cancer as long as there is breath in my body because it’s a health danger that can affect anyone and everyone. I’m so proud to be part of the Lexington hospital’s effort,” he adds.
“The hospital is truly a treasure for this area.”
Bill also is leading the way to adjusting how to continue supporting other causes during this unusual, global health crisis. Rather than physically having the annual Bark To The Park event, they held a virtual Bark Around The Block in various neighborhoods that was shared live on social media.
“I’m just not stopping,” wages Bill, who also enabled a million-dollar parking lot extension to occur at his congregation’s GraceLife Church. “We’re not sitting around; we’re finding different ways to move forward.”
Steps taken at the McDaniels Auto Group locations include disinfecting the entire buildings, using steering wheel covers and placing plastic on seats when service work is done, cleaning cars’ interiors, posting signs about where customers can sit outside the buildings, and doing the majority of payment transactions online and with electronic signatures.
Bill says he’s blessed to work with some of the hardest-working people he knows. They say the same about him.
To discover more about the Lexington Medical Center Foundation, call 803.791.2540 or email LMCFoundation@lexhealth.org.
MORE ABOUT BILL’S BACKGROUND
Bill McDaniels, president, owner and founder of McDaniels Automotive Group, is the event sponsor of the McDaniels Golf Classic. He's worked in the retail automotive industry since 1969. He's also a licensed general contractor in South Carolina and North Carolina.
An avid community philanthropist, Bill has raised more than $4.5 million for the community through his support of charitable events, including the McDaniels Golf Classic. He received numerous honors for community service, including Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Nikki Haley, and the Silver Leaf Award by Lt. Governor Andre Bauer.
Bill lives in Elgin, and enjoys playing golf in his spare time.
CHAIR OF MCDANIELS GOLF CLASSIC: SUZANNE PUCCI
Suzanne Pucci, president of Stanley Steemer of the Midlands, currently chairs the McDaniels Golf Classic, a position she has held for the past 11 years.
In addition to her work at Stanley Steemer, Suzanne actively serves her community. She's a member of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors and past president of the Columbia Executives & Owners Association, having served on the organization’s board of directors for five years. She's currently a member of South Carolina’s Small Business Regulatory Review Committee, and a past member of the board of directors for the Family Shelter in Columbia.
Suzanne enjoys playing golf and staying fit, and is an enthusiastic University of South Carolina sports fan.