Ferguson returns to island council after hospital stay

Hilton Head Island Councilman Bill Ferguson has resumed his town duties after being hospitalized May 3 at the VA Hospital in Charleston.

Ferguson began attending council and committee meetings last week, starting with the May 17 council meeting.

The native-islander and Vietnam veteran said he feels better now that he's "sticking to" his medication for several illnesses, including diabetes and exposure to Agent Orange during his military service.

"I wasn't taking them. I created my own monster by not taking care of myself, and I came to realize I can't function without the medication, and (not taking the medication) could cause death," Ferguson said Wednesday. "I am getting back on track with my medication, and that has made a tremendous difference. I realize and I need to be careful and prudent with my medications."

Ferguson apologized April 19 for accosting fellow council member George Williams Jr. before an April 5 meeting and attributed his behavior to health problems.

"I have been battling significant health issues that have their root in my military service. Since 1970, I have been seeking help for these conditions," Ferguson said at the time.

He asked Mayor Drew Laughlin to relieve him of committee duties because his doctors directed him to reduce stress. Laughlin agreed.

Ferguson has resumed those duties since his hospital release, except for his position as a nonvoting member of a committee rewriting the town's development standards.

The longtime council member of Ward 1 requested he be replaced on the committee by someone from his district and that the representative have voting power. On May 17, the council voted to replace Ferguson with former Hilton Head Boys & Girls Club director Irving Campbell and allow him to vote.

"We needed someone there from Ward 1 who could vote. It dawned on me that I couldn't be effective on the committee" by not being allowed to vote, Ferguson said. "Irv spent eight years on the BZA, is a retired military officer and is dedicated to the work of the committee."