Hundreds donate time and skills in a variety of areas
Every Thanksgiving, Barbara Prescop shares a hearty feast with her family—her “blue” family.
As a go-to volunteer for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Prescop coordinates and helps serve a fitting Thanksgiving meal to the officers and other law enforcement personnel who help protect the city. She’s at the Law Enforcement Center nearly all day on the holiday making sure officers on every shift get a heaping helping of food, along with a side of her genuine gratitude.
“That’s my payback—just watching them enjoy it,” says Prescop, founder of the Myrtle Beach Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. “They appreciate it. We can tell it from the looks on their faces. And that makes us happy.”
Prescop is one of 600 volunteers who donate their time, skill and services to the city of Myrtle Beach each year. They fill a variety of key roles: offering input and guidance on city boards and commissions, serving as coaches in the recreation leagues, lending a hand during parades or special events and more.
“We couldn’t do what we do without them,” city spokesman Mark Kruea says.
While the city relies on residents like Prescop and others, volunteers say they get just as much by giving back to the city programs and personnel that have given to them and their families.
“We enjoy it very much,” Prescop says. “We feel like we are giving a hand. We try to step in whenever they need.”
Prescop started offering support to the Myrtle Beach Police Department after participating in the Citizen’s Police Academy, a 10-week program that gives residents a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement. She was so inspired to give back, she formed the nonprofit alumni association in 2013, which is now up to more than 70 members of alumni and law enforcement personnel.
Members not only help arrange donated meals for officers, including that Thanksgiving feast, they volunteer to man barricades during parades, marathons and other special events; play roles in officer training exercises and work the department service desk.
“Whatever they need,” Prescop says. “It’s things I want to do. I want to give back.”
Moriah Brown and Eric Goings were inspired to volunteer in part because of their kids. When her daughters were younger, Brown took full advantage of Chapin Memorial Library and its programs to help her children learn and grow.
“We would be there at least once a week for story time,” says Brown, whose daughters are now teenagers. “It’s just a great place to take the kids. It’s been so valuable to us.”
Now, she is president of Friends of the Library, helping to develop programs that inspire today’s kids, raise funds for the library and lure even more library members. She tackles the tasks with the same passion she has for books.
“Every avenue just takes you back to the library, back to books,” Brown says. “It’s fun to try to find ways to bring people into the library. [Friends of the Library is] almost like a living ‘thank you’ to the library.”
Eric Goings—affectionately known to many as “coach”—was motivated to volunteer with the city’s recreation leagues after becoming a father long ago. He wanted to represent his son and other kids in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood. He recalled fond memories playing football and basketball as a kid growing up in Myrtle Beach, finding inspiration in the coaches who mentored him.
Now, it was his turn to inspire. He juggled hours of practices, games and travel tournaments each week with the daily duties of full-time work and fatherhood. Nearly three decades later, he’s still at it.
“It’s like a passion,” says Goings, 62, who is one of the city’s longest-serving volunteers and was named the city’s Volunteer of the Year in 2010. “Once you get started, you can’t quit. It’s just part of me now.”
For Goings and others, giving back is a way of life. He’s a fixture on the city fields and courts, especially the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center and Pepper Geddings Recreation Center. Fueled by a goal of offering kids the kinds of sports programs that keep them busy and out of trouble, he often recruited children into the rec leagues as they got off the school bus or walked through his neighborhood.
A city leader once told him, “these kids were waiting for y’all for a long time,” Goings says.
Because it’s become a way of life, Goings has no idea how many hours a week he spends coaching football or basketball or helping with track events. And he can’t even begin to estimate how many kids he’s coached through the years. He’s been at it so long, he’s now starting to coach children of the kids he coached during his early days of volunteering. And he has no plans to stop any time soon.
“Once I started, I stuck right with it,” he says. “I will never give it up—as long as they’ll keep me.”
For Goings, Brown and Prescop, their volunteer work with the city is just one example of how they give back. All are familiar faces with other organizations and charities around town. Goings encourages others to find ways to volunteer—not only to help others, but to lift their own spirits.
“You live a happier life,” he says. “You won’t be sad all the time because you are always giving.”
He’s already inspired others to share their talents—most notably, his son, EJ Goings, who is putting his talents in track and field to good use for the city’s recreation department. The younger Goings, a two-time state champion in the 800 meters at Myrtle Beach High School and 2017 graduate of Coastal Carolina University, recalls the positive influence his father and coach had on him as a player in the city’s recreation leagues.
“He has always been a role model. He never rests,” says EJ Goings, adding he wants to inspire, like coaches did for him. “I wanted to come back and give back. I just haven’t stopped.”
He’s a volunteer with the Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club, is a fixture volunteering at local track meets and has already earned his father’s stamp of approval as a volunteer.
“EJ—he’s going to be a good one,” Eric Goings says.
While the younger Goings juggles volunteering and working at a local school, Prescop is a retired teacher with lots of time to volunteer for multiple organizations whenever and however needed.
“It’s always hard to ask for help,” Prescop says. “While I can, I want to do that. It’s just my time to give back.”
Want to volunteer with the City of Myrtle Beach? Contact the department you’d like to help or email firstname.lastname@example.org.