Meet Dot Putignano – Goodness Behind the Scenes

By Leslie Moore

Meet Dot Putignano – Goodness Behind the Scenes

Dot Putignano makes everyone she meets a part of her family and is loved by all who know her. The day we met, she greeted me at the door with a big smile and immediately offered me a cup of coffee. I instantly felt at home. Dot and her husband, Mike, are retired, and spend much of their days helping others. Their faith and their friendship bring joy to many in the community.

Please tell me how you were led to be so involved in helping others.

I was raised in the country, out on Hwy. 90, and my mother instilled compassion in me from an early age. She was always doing something for someone.

I have a son and a daughter. My son lives on the property where I grew up, but my daughter has a developmental disorder and lives in a group home. Raising her was hard, but a blessing, and taught me a lot about love and compassion.

Growing up, my daughter went to school, but when she was about to turn 21, I panicked. At that time, I was a single mother and had to work every day. What was I going to do if she didn’t have anywhere to go during the day? Back then there were no programs for handicapped adults; they mostly just stayed home and watched television. I started asking questions and knocking on doors and, after a long struggle and with a lot of help, we opened an adult developmental center in an old school building in Conway. I actually went door to door to find enough people to enable the center to get a grant. We had to have at least 21 people. They were out there, but no one knew!

I became the first executive director of the center and even wrote the first grant. The community was so good to us. We had fundraisers every year – Mickey Mantle came two years in a row to help us! Today, this organization is known as the Horry County Disabilities and Special Needs.

What are you involved in now?

Oh my, Mike and I stay busy! My daughter comes home every other weekend, and we always have a good time together. Mike plays the trumpet, and we go to local nursing homes and play for the residents. Mike is also a Gideon, and I am in the auxiliary, so we distribute Bibles.

I used to babysit for several local children that I fell in love with, but I broke my wrist and had to give them up. I do still enjoy the little ones at our church and am making a quilt for one now.

For the past 20 years, I’ve been a volunteer with the Grand Strand Hospital Auxiliary, and I love my work there. I also have a lot of compassion for today’s military families. I was a military wife and moved around a lot, so I know how hard it can be to have your husband or wife so far away.

What do you do for fun?

I try to spend as much time as I can with my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren – I have three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. And, Mike and I have made a lot of “snowbird” friends that we spend time with when they are visiting our area. We enjoy trying new restaurants, and I love to play Mahjong, too.

People are very important. We are on earth to reach out and make other’s lives better.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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