After singing the praises of Ted Morton’s career and his contributions to the Greenwood community, state Sen. Floyd Nicholson asked Morton to hold the microphone for a moment.

Without missing a beat, Morton leaned into the microphone and said “Things are about to get out of hand.”

When Nicholson stepped back up to the lectern, it was with a framed declaration awarding Morton the state’s highest civilian honor — the Order of the Palmetto.

The ceremony honoring Morton was hosted Tuesday evening at Inn on the Square, during the August Summer Social of the Cambridge Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, of which Morton serves as chaplain. Before the chapter’s dinner program began, Nicholson took the stage to explain why Morton was being honored.

Morton came to Greenwood in 1968, brought here by a mission to help establish a retirement home that provided quality care for people seeking a community to enjoy their last days in.

“What brought Ted to Greenwood was the Methodist Home,” Nicholson said. “They were opening a Methodist Home here in 1968, and he was brought in as the first administrator.”

For 27 years, Morton served with the home, Nicholson said, and his work established the strong foundation that would lead the Methodist Home to become what it is today, Wesley Commons.

“When people said the phrase ‘40 acres and a mule,’ well we had 73 acres, but no one told me I was going to be the mule,” Morton said of his work establishing the home.

He would go on to spearhead efforts behind a senior center, including bringing the Meals on Wheels program to Greenwood, something Nicholson said he’s volunteered with since he retired from Lander University.

Nicholson told the crowd that the Order of the Palmetto is awarded by the governor to people who do significant public service work that makes their community a better place for everyone. Morton was joined by all his children, including a grandson, and received a standing ovation from his peers.

He said he’d thought something was odd about the evening, but that he was utterly surprised when he received the Order.

“I wasn’t really sure where he was going to go with all that,” Morton said. “I appreciate it, but I can think of many people who are more deserving.”

Those who supported the efforts to get Morton the award, however, said he was more than deserving of it.

“He’s done a lot not only for the Methodist organization, but he’s done a lot for the state and the South Carolina Sons of the American Revolution,” said Richard Morris, Cambridge Chapter president. “He’s one of those guys who doesn’t wait for someone else to do something, you know what I mean?”

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.