Bennie made a profound impact as she represented Upstate AHEC at local and state levels by networking across all regions. She has received numerous awards including the 1998 SC AHEC Ambassador Award, 1996 The Greenville Hospital System Continuous Quality Improvement Education Award and the SC Hospital Association Outstanding Health Care Educator of the Year Award.
Kelli Clune, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, pediatric forensic nursing coordinator at Durant Children’s Center, expressed her gratitude with the following words:
Understanding the devastation and unintentional re-victimization of sexual assault victims by health care facilities, Bennie Pettit saw a need in the Upstate for specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). The SANE class is a 40-hour endeavor, therefore requires immense preparation and support. Bennie excels at ensuring all the necessary elements that go into conducting a class of this magnitude were in place. Bennie is truly a great woman and mentors me in the best practices in the teaching of others as well as encouraging me to pursue my love for education. Thanks to Bennie, many sexual assault victims are being cared for by specially trained RNs that can meet their needs and diminish the destructive sequelae of experiencing a sexual assault. I am going to sorely miss her as she retires.
Bennie attended the University of South Carolina, where she received a Master of Science in Health Education in 1982 and a Bachelor of Science in Education – Health Education in 1978. Bennie joined AHEC in 1987 as the Allied Health Coordinator for the Greenville AHEC, which was then based at the Greenville Hospital System. She managed the development, design, delivery and budget of live courses and training interventions that support health care professionals throughout the 11-county region of Upstate AHEC.
During her final months at Upstate AHEC, Bennie expressed sadness about leaving and excitement about the future:
It is hard to believe I have been in this position for 33 years. To realize that my days at Upstate AHEC have come to an end brings sadness and great joy. Now is the right time for me to move on to the next stage of my life and take the time to enjoy my family and enjoy a life of leisure. The last 33 years have been a wonderful experience for myself. Thank you for making my ‘work’ a real pleasure.
A retirement reception was held at the Upstate AHEC office on April 24. During the reception, Upstate AHEC announced that the Upstate AHEC Bennie Pettit Scholarship was created in her honor to commemorate her tireless efforts of providing exceptional high-quality educational opportunities for all people.