Rock Hill

Pinky Funderburk's Legion of Honor medal, as presented by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-5th) in Rock Hill on Aug. 2.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tom Funderburk is 94 years old. He's one of the last surviving B-17 pilots who flew in World War II.

He goes by the nickname 'Pinky,' because of his once-red hair.

He lives in Rock Hill with his 8-year-old cockatiel, Pretty Boy.

He has more military medals than people have toes; and one of them is the Légion d'honneur -- the Legion of Honor, the highest order of merit bestowed by the government of France. 

There's South Carolina Gold in Them Thar Rockets

Jul 2, 2019
Spun gold. These shiny bands are actually a fiber soft enough to make space suits with and tough enough to shield firefighters (and astronauts) from flames.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Forgive yourself if you can’t pronounce “polybenzimidizole,” much less know what it’s used for. But if you ever went to the moon, you were sure glad to have it on your skin.  

Familiarly, polybenzimidizole goes by the much more vocally friendly name of PBI. It’s a twill-like material made by, fittingly, PBI Performance Products in Rock Hill. The company makes polymers, solutions, and films for industrial purposes, but the Rock Hill plant is the only place in the world that manufactures the company’s most visible product, PBI staple fiber.

Yoga. Now with Bleats

Jun 21, 2019
Downward-facing... doe? Don't laugh, it happens a lot in goat yoga.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Until a few years ago, nobody really thought to put goats and yoga together. And yet, here we are, living in a world where the sight of downward-facing yogis and bouncing baby goats in the same place looks as natural as mac and cheese.

For Jim and Terri Gustin, owners of Critter Creek Farm in Rock Hill – primarily a flower farm, but one with lots of animals around – the idea just worked itself out.   

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

That the NFL’s Carolina Panthers would eventually move the team’s practice facility and operations out of Charlotte and south of the border to Rock Hill was really just a matter of when the South Carolina Legislature would greenlight a set of tax breaks (worth somewhere between $115 and $120 million, by most estimates) that would allow the team to set up shop in York County. And when Panthers would officially say they were coming.

On June 5, the Panthers, the state, and City of Rock Hill made the official announcement that the team will be moving in over the next couple years.

Rock Hill Unveils All-Electric Bus Fleet

Jun 6, 2019
Rock Hill's free My Ride bus fleet boasts zero emissions. My Ride is funded mainly through the a combination of FTA funds, a local match from the city's general fund, and partners.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

When Rock Hill set out to launch its first full-scale bus system, it wanted to try something different. Well, all the rides on the MyRide system will be free and all seven buses in the fleet will be 100 percent electric. The really different part, though, is that no one’s ever started out this way before.

The future home of the Rock Hill Sports & Events Center is still under construction.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tourism is big business for South Carolina. The state Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (PRT) puts annual tourism revenue at about $20 billion.

Bicycle racers from around the world fly through the air as part of the BMX World Championships held recently in Rock Hill.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Rock Hill has enjoyed a growing reputation as an amateur sports Mecca, and the city recently proved it by hosting the BMX (bicycle motocross) world championship competitions.  Men, women and children came from across the globe to compete, and the event drew 3700 riders and 20,000 spectators from 48 countries.