MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's nine-month leadership program, Leadership Grand Strand, is excited to announce the 2014 Annual Ann DeBock Leadership Award was presented to Senator J. Gregory Hembree, the Republican South Carolina senator for District 28, which includes Dillon and Horry counties. The award was presented at the Ann DeBock Alumni Association Social following the Leadership Grand Strand Class XXXIV graduation ceremony on May 9, 2014 at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

Each year, the Leadership Grand Strand class honors one alumnus who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service. To receive this award, the recipient must volunteer in service or civic roles, serve on appointed boards or commissions, and exhibit an overall demonstration of effective leadership skills.

The 2014 award winner was born in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., but he spent his youth in Memphis, Tenn. His father was a dentist and educator in the field, while his mother was a dental hygienist. Hembree knew he did not want to follow in his parents' footsteps into dentistry.

Law was where Hembree found his calling. He graduated from the University of Memphis in 1982 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics. From there, he went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree in 1985.

His legal career included stints as an assistant solicitor for the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office, an attorney with the Columbia firm of Lewis, Rogers and Lark, the city attorney for North Myrtle Beach and the solicitor for the 15th Judicial Circuit for Horry and Georgetown counties. The latter position he held from 1999 to 2013.

In November 2012, Hembree was elected to the S.C. State Senate as the Republican senator for District 28.

Hembree is a graduate of Leadership Grand Strand. He has also been a charter member of the Waccamaw American Leadership Forum, a charter member of the Grand Strand Running Club and the 2009 S.C. Law Enforcement Victim Advocates Solicitor of the Year.

"It is self-evident that Sen. Hembree has made a huge impact on the Grand Strand and the state of S.C. as a whole," said U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, with the state's 7th Congressional District.

The Ann DeBock Leadership Award was commissioned and started by Class XIX in memory of Ann DeBock, the executive director of Leadership Grand Strand from its inception in 1979 until her death in 1998.

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