COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Nearly 500 people packed the University of South Carolina Alumni Center Thursday night to celebrate the United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian of the Year Award's Dinner.
Brothers Stewart and Steven Mungo, of home builder Mungo Homes, were named this year's honoree.
"Their father grew up with very little and did well as a businessman in our community and as a community leader," said Mac Bennett, CEO of the United Way of the Midlands. "He has bestowed those values on his two sons and grandchildren, and it's just great to see second and third generations respond to the community in the way that the Mungo's have."
The award is touted as the highest single honor of philanthropic achievement in the Midlands.
The Mungo's were recognized for their significant contributions through the Michael J. Mungo Foundation to community organizations like Harvest Hope, Transitions, and Pawmetto Lifeline among others, and their outpouring of help since the historic floods of October 2015.
"Where we've seen them really step up was with the relief in the flood event in 2015," added Bennett. "They've worked with us and Home Works and St. Bernard Project and many others to make a difference to get people back in their homes that were destroyed by the flood."
Much like their father who was a quiet philanthropist, the Mungos shied away from the recognition Thursday night, instead pointing to the community agencies they have supported. They thanked their parents for serving as their inspiration and their families for their roles in continuing their father's legacy.
As part of the recognition, the Mungos were also celebrated for launching their partnership with WIS called Community Builder to recognize the unsung heroes of the Midlands.
In a surprise portion of the gala, Matt Mungo, son of Stewart Mungo, announced United Way CEO Mac Bennett with our latest Community Builder award.
Bennett was stunned, and when he came to the podium to accept his award, he stated, "Hold on now, we're off script!" as he thanked the Mungo family.
Bennett has served as CEO of the United Way for 12 years and will retire in June. Look for his Community Builder story online and on air on WIS-TV next week.