Woman strives to serve North Augusta

Pat Carpenter has spent her life giving back to her hometown of North Augusta. "I feel like I have always served my community by coaching or being involved in different committees," she said. "City council is just a different way to serve."

Pat Carpenter has spent her life giving back to her hometown of North Augusta.

"I feel like I have always served my community by coaching or being involved in different committees," she said. "City council is just a different way to serve."

Now in her fifth term on the city council, she has helped residents get their voices heard for about 17 years.

"I absolutely love it," she said.

She often rushes from council meetings to the ball field at Riverview Park to coach one of her many teams. She coaches baseball, basketball and softball at the park, and cheerleading at Fox Creek High School.

Carpenter said she has coached recreational teams for 29 years.

"I never was a cheerleader, and I did not care for it when I was growing up; the thing I loved was basketball," she said. "My dream was to be a teacher. I went into the medical field instead, but this is a way I can teach."

It's not just about teaching sports, Carpenter said. She teaches her players to succeed in life.

"I take my teams out to eat as a team; what I do with them I do, like spray-painting my hair orange," she said. "We do extracurricular activities, and I stay in touch with them after they leave me."

The young people are constantly teaching her, too, she said. She learned the pyramid stance for softball from them.

On Saturdays, she volunteers to coach The RECing Crew in North Augusta, which offers leisure and recreational activities to those with disabilities.

Church also is a big part of her life. A member of First Baptist Church of North Augusta, Carpenter has taught Sunday school for 41 years. She helps organize a homeless dinner twice a year and was part of the choir until coaching led to a permanently hoarse voice.

During the summer she leads a Bible camp, Cross Connections, at Summerfield Park for children and their parents. Camp begins Aug. 11 and is held 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Participants receive a free meal while enjoying crafts and Bible study. At the end of the summer, school supplies are given away.

In the heart of North Augusta's downtown is Carpenter's Exxon, a family-business owned since 1977. Carpenter said her father, Luke Cooper, bought the business, which is now run by her husband, Kenneth.

During the days, Carpenter spends her time at North Augusta Elementary School as a teacher's aide.

"Church, work and school -- that's my destination every day," she said.

Pat Carpenter

AGE: 59

FAMILY: Husband, Kenneth; daughter, Fran Risse; son, Frank; and grandchildren Ella, Will and Luke

OCCUPATION: Teacher's aide at North Augusta Elementary School; North Augusta City Council

QUOTE: "I just love the closeness of the people and all my family is still here," she said of North Augusta.