Two St. James parishioners recognized for volunteerism


MYRTLE BEACH — Two parishioners of St. James Church were honored as nominees for the annual “Sun News Volunteer of the Year Award.”

Last year that honor was captured by St. Michael Church member Carol Abbott of S.O.S. Health Care, Inc.

The awards were bestowed at The Martinique Resort in Myrtle Beach Jan. 26 at a special luncheon sponsored by the newspaper.

“We at the Sun News regard and respect your selfless efforts to make our community a richer one,” said Sun News Publisher Paula Ellis at the luncheon. “We’re proud to be able to bring other members of the community here to give you thanks today.”

Father ‘Rick LaBrecque, pastor of St. James Church in Conway, gave the invocation, calling all nominees “shining examples.”

“We know they are the shining tip of a much larger iceberg that our whole community with its churches and its services and its organizations and its outreach flourishes because of the spirit of so many generous people who volunteer of their time and talent to work together so we might all have a better life.”

Nominees were given $500 for the charity of their choice.

John C. Brunk

John Brunk of St. James Church was nominated by the Horry County Literacy Council, where he has been a certified Laubach tutor since 1996.

Born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, Mich., he came to Myrtle Beach in 1994, retiring as an executive for Borden, Inc.

At Conway Elementary School, Brunk has been volunteering his time with three to five students two days a week.

“From his first shy third-grader at Conway Elementary School, John has evolved into a tutor extraordinaire and from all accounts, a role model, father figure, trusted friend and guidance counselor,” said Ellis.

“His services are always in demand because he possesses that rare gift that makes him equally successful with the introverted child or the wild extrovert,” he added.

Ellis said that Brunk’s efforts have also inspired some of his friends to volunteer.

“For many of these children, he becomes a positive role model and special friend,” the program stated.

Brunk also volunteers with the Horry County Probate Court.

He is a volunteer court visitor, and visits incapacitated adults.

Brunk is a veteran, having served in Korea from 1952 to 1956.

He has three daughters living in Ohio.

“Many children do not have a male figure in their lives, so they need to know firsthand what a father or grandfather should be like … learning is very difficult unless someone makes you believe that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do. Mr. Brunk does that,” Nita G. Brown of the Literacy Council told the Sun News.

Patricia Millus

Nominee Patricia Millus is the pastoral associate of St. James Church in Conway, having moved to Horry County in 1974.

Donald J. Millus, her husband, is a professor at Coastal Carolina University in Conway.

She was nominated for her work with Churches Assisting People (CAP).

She is president of the CAP board of directors, having served as a board member for several years.

She has developed a volunteer team of pastoral visitors at the church and is a member of the ladies guild, working for the needy and bereaved.

“I do believe that one person can make a difference,” she told the Sun News.

Ellis said in 1998 more than 1,800 families received “life-sustaining food, medicine and baby formula” through CAP with other services.

“Patricia Millus continues to make a positive and lasting impression on this community. She is a perfect example of how invaluable volunteerism can be,” Gail T. Steinfeld, CAP director, told the newspaper.

Millus moved to Horry County from Paterson, N.Y.

She earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Loyola University in New Orleans, La.

Ellis quoted Mitchell Godwin, vice president of Conway National Bank, as saying, “Pat is not only a dynamic woman, she is a lady who radiates wholesomeness and genuine humbleness.

“Her strength of character and deep love for her fellow man has enabled her to engage many others with worthwhile endeavors to assist the less fortunate time and time again.”