Todd Harrelson is running for the mayoral seat in the Special Election to be held in May.
When Mayor Henry L. Nichols passed away in February the seat of mayor for the city of Loris was considered vacated. Mayor Pro-tem Todd Harrelson took over the duties as mayor of Loris. Harrelson said, “We requested that the Municipal Association of South Carolina in Columbia come help us determine what the procedure is,” he continued. “As Loris has never had a mayor leave office before the end of their term.” The Municipal Association of South Carolina determined Harrelson is now mayor; the council is required to nominate and vote on a mayor pro-tem to handle the city’s affairs if Harrelson is not available. In the March city council meeting Joan Gause was nominated and unanimously voted in as mayor pro-tem.
A special election was held in October 2016 where Harrelson was elected for the vacant seat on council after Casey Ward resigned. Again in December 2017 he ran for the seat and won the election. “I was nominated for mayor pro tempore in January 2018 with a unanimous vote by fellow council members under Mayor Henry Nichols.” There were many occasions where Harrelson stepped in to handle the duties of mayor when Nichols was unavailable due to health issues; he presided over several city council meetings, getting his feet wet to learn the processes of following procedure.
Harrelson said that he is running for mayor to keep the progress going forward. He said, “We have accomplished a lot and I want the improvements to continue.” His list of improvements are the drainage, hydrology study, repaving the streets, cleaning up the city to be more beautiful and working with the recreation department to make improvements, again to quote Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” His hope is to continue with making Loris a city people will want to stop and visit as they travel through to go to the beach.
“We have great people in place and they are doing great things;” he said, “we are a team and we need to stay that way.” I am running for mayor in the special election and I will run again in November for the seat of mayor. “I am going to win,” he says with great confidence.
Harrelson can be seen driving through the neighborhoods stopping to speak with residents, listening to their concerns and suggestions. His concern for residents during and after the hurricanes especially the areas that received flooding, he continues to work with residents who have had ongoing issues after the storms; he has made attempts to research and help to fix the problems. Elliott Godfrey and Alan Levinson are prime examples of residents he has continued to work with as they had extensive damage to their homes from the September and October hurricanes.
He attended the University of South Carolina and transferred to Horry Georgetown Tech graduating with an associate’s degree in forestry. He began working for Georgia Pacific, the largest timber company in the world as Procurement Forester, working on appraisals of timber stands and purchase timber from land owners and companies; he then worked for Canal Wood as procurement manager. Twenty-five years ago he created his company, Southeastern Timberland, Inc. He has invested in the city purchasing 20 homes and commercial buildings as rental properties. He also created TMH Real Estate 20 years ago. He grew up in Loris and invested back by purchasing property. He also coached baseball for the Loris recreation center, “I’ve coached T-ball to JV baseball for 15 years,” he said, “I coached the All Stars and the 10, 11 and 12 year olds and enjoyed every minute of it.”
Harrelson is president of Southeastern Timberland Inc. He had a tragic work-related accident in 2013 that left his right leg severed just below the knee; he is proud of the prosthetics he uses to walk, one he calls his Jesus leg and has written words of encouragement for him, “Lamb of God Savior, King of Kings, bread of life and Jesus” and the other is a Gamecock prosthetics to promote his favorite team.
He uses his prosthetics to help kids and people see that they can have a normal life after losing a leg or an arm. He visits the hospital in Columbia. “I met a guy who was discouraged and devastated about losing his leg,” he said. “I was there to help him to understand that he can interact with a prosthetic.” He continued, “He was given hope to know that he can live a normal life again.” Harrelson is also involved with assisting people in need of rehabilitation for alcohol or opiate abuse. He assists them to find placement at a facility to receive the help they need.
Harrelson said, “The biggest part of my life is being a Christian; being a Christian comes first and the city council comes second.” He will stop to pray with someone who is down or needs a helping hand and that is his first priority.