Celebrating those who give of themselves.
Susan Roberts has worn many hats in her professional career. She has been in communications, public relations and business. In fact, she was a partner in a large retail furniture business. She has been a stay-at-home mom, a teacher and a docent. She has helped students with learning issues, and acted as a substitute teacher for local schools. Her arrival story, like many others, began with Hilton Head vacations. She and husband Dean started coming here in the 80s and soon purchased a villa. They moved here permanently 13 years ago and now live in Hilton Head Plantation.
Tall, willow-slender and crowned with lioness hair, Elizabeth Sullivan Cutshall greeted me in the Hilton Head office of Wells Fargo Advisors. Elizabeth is with the Bezilla-Kinney Wealth Management Group. Her title is Senior Registered Client Associate and recently, she was named Assistant Vice President. We smiled at our quasi-matching business attire—flared black slacks and tailored black/white jackets. She started her college career in fashion merchandising. In fact, there was an illustrated book on fashion in her office. But that was before she moved to Hilton Head and destiny change
Life in the Fast Lane—An Intriguing Career
For some people, their life path becomes clear at an early age. That’s what happened for Kathy Watson. The eldest of five children, she grew up in Easton, Md. Her father was a physician with a busy practice and her mother was the domestic engineer, tending to all the details required to handle a household and raise a family. Learning from her parents’ example, Kathy gained some excellent time-management skills that have served her well throughout her school years and career. Her parents strongly encouraged her to be independent, discover what she wanted to do and go after it. And that she did!
Plan It. Manage It. Get It Done.
The title for this piece came directly from Maryann Bastnagel’s professional website. The words are as succinct and straightforward as the woman. Nothing in her life seems wasted—not words or time or energy. We arranged to meet after Maryann checked her calendar and found one opening on one specific morning when she was on Hilton Head to attend a board meeting of the Economic Development Corporation for the Town of Hilton Head. The interview was scheduled after that meeting, before she flew back to Delaware to continue consulting on a management project.
Mallory Spreads Her Magic
With creative images dancing in her head, young Mallory Russell began her search for the perfect recipe. With visions of college scholarship money, her family jumped at the opportunity. The fantasy-invoking opportunity was a contest sponsored by Jif peanut butter in 2011 that requested recipes for “The Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich” from kids 6-12 years old. Mallory’s maternal grandmother found out about the contest and alerted the family.
One of the fastest growing water sports in the world has arrived in Beaufort. It’s dragon boat racing, which originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. The first international dragon boat races were held in Hong Kong in 1976 to promote tourism. The fever quickly spread. Some statistics report nearly 50 million dragon boaters in China. There are now more than 90,000 in Canada and the USA, and dragon boat racing is spreading to every continent. Deeply embedded in China’s dragon culture, each boat has an ornately carved dragon’s head at the bow and a tail at the stern. The hull is painted with the dragon’s scales. The paddles symbolically represent the claws. Dragons were traditionally believed to be the rulers of rivers, lakes and seas, dominating the clouds, mists and rains from heaven. A dragon boat team consists of 20 paddlers seated two abreast, a helmsman, who steers the boat from the rear, and a drummer who sits at the front to pound out the cadence for synchronized stroking.
A Hilton Head Heritage
Janice Barnwell is a fifth-generation Hilton Head Islander. Her son, Chauncey, is sixth generation. Her mother was one of 15 children born on Hilton Head. Her family’s annual reunion—held alternately in Hilton Head and Alexandria, Va.,—includes at least 45 of her first cousins. Some of her cousins’ children have children, making them seventh-generation Islanders.
Celebrating those who give of themselves.
A Woman, A Dog and an Alligator: A Tall Tale
The story spread as fast as kudzu’s invasion into the Southeast. From the salons to the saloons, and places in between, locals were talking about Amanda Russ, the owner of Pomodori Italian Eatery on Hilton Head Island, who jumped into a lagoon and wrestled the dog she’s been caring for this past year from the jaws of an alligator.
A Firm Foundation
Mary Tatum is an outstanding example of a person who inspires others and makes a difference. When her friends or family are struggling with problems, she not only encourages them, she also tries to comfort them by sending her favorite message of hope from the Bible, quoting Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, I am with you; do not look around you in terror, and do not lose courage for fear of what may happen, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.”
Queen for a Year
A strikingly beautiful young woman walked alone into the lobby of the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island. She may or may not have noticed heads turning—it’s simply a fact of her life. She carried a curious looking tortoise shell box with a handle—neither a purse nor a briefcase. Later she explained, “It’s the carrying case for my crown and I’m officially required to take it wherever I go. I knew if I came down the elevator from my room and walked into the lobby actually wearing my crown, I’d never get to our interview because people would’ve continually asked to take their pictures with me.”
One Mother's Amazing Journey
When Jessica and her husband Creg went to the 20-week ultrasound of their first child, they could have never expected the news they would receive and the amazing journey that laid ahead. “At 20 weeks we learned that [Payton] had stopped growing,” began Jessica. “The diagnosis was absent end diastolic flow and basically she was not getting enough nutrients. We knew then she was going to be a preemie.”
Celebrating those who give of themselves.
Beth Whiteford has a history—as a volunteer, that is. As a longtime volunteer in her home state of Massachusetts, it was important to her to find some way to help in her new community. Three years ago she saw a request for volunteers for Operation Safe Harbour, called their office and went in. It was a good fit and she has been there ever since.
Force of Nature
June begins hurricane season. Already, there’s a force of nature swirling across the Lowcountry stirring things up. Her name is Myla Lerner. If you’ve entered her force field, you’ll never forget it.
A Trailblazing Educator
Turning Adversity into Action
Most people experience adversity in their lives, but some get a much larger dose than others. Angel Flewelling was born to a Philippino mom and an American dad, who was stationed in the Philippines in the Navy. She was nine months old when her father was transferred to duty in California. The story of Angel’s early life is heartbreaking. She and her siblings suffered years of physical and emotional abuse. Although her mother could sometimes be extremely kind, she was prone to frequent outbursts of rage. Angel never felt safe.
Celebrating those who give of themselves.
Hope Haven of the Lowcountry is a nationally accredited not-for-profit Children’s Advocacy and Rape Crisis Center located in Beaufort South, Carolina and serving residents county-wide. Their mission is: “ to provide comprehensive services that lead to healing for child victims of abuse and adult victims of rape, sexual assault, and incest. We also strive to increase the community’s awareness of these issues through education and outreach.”
Making a Difference
There’s an aura of self-confidence in Donna Klein that quickly comes across in conversation. She approaches topics in businesslike fashion, like she’s been around a meeting room table a few thousand times. Donna is comfortable talking about her accomplishments. Things that didn’t work out as planned are also open for discussion.
First Female Sergeant Major of Parris Island
A Scholar's Voice
One never knows exactly what spark will set our life on fire. As a teacher, Claire Sullivan lived all over the world and barely grasped a breath before another idea was in motion. Her thirst for knowledge and sharing it goes back to her childhood. “I grew up in Brooklyn, New York during difficult times. Mom was a homemaker, and my father was a self-made man. We were filled with curiosity about the world and greatly valued our Jewish heritage and its history and traditions.” Hilton Head was fortunate to capture Claire in 1992. She astutely observed Hilton Head’s educational system and was prompted to found the International Academy, now Heritage Academy. This school of excellence focuses on combining education, athletics and performing arts for international and local students. It thrives today having expanded from its original 17 students to more than 130.
On a bleak afternoon in February, as I searched the lunchtime crowd at Panera, a young woman cheerfully said, “I think you’re looking for me.” I turned and had the weird sensation that the restaurant lights had gotten brighter. There was a heightened TGIF energy in the atmosphere, but no one was more effervescent or radiant than Anna Ashdown.
A True Patriot
Stars on her sweater and on her ears, but nothing compares to the star she is! A Renaissance gal and New England Patriots Fan of the Year, Karen Hourigan, met me and my golden retriever, Sassie, in her front yard. Immediately electrified, we entered her warm cozy home for three charged hours of fascinating facts about Karen’s star-studded life. Busying herself providing magazines, newspaper clippings and a barrage of New England Patriot photos, the Rhode Island native never sat down the first hour we talked. The mother of four and grandmother of 10, Karen bounced from table to huge memorabilia box, her famous sparkly red, white and blue hat struggling to maintain its spot on her perky, snow white head. Breathlessly, she related her thrilling journey to the title of “Flag Lady” and winner of New England Patriot’s Fan of the Year award. “It all started with this sweater,” she said as she pointed to the stars. “I retrieved it from a pile of sweaters and thought it was a bit crazy, but it appealed to my patriotism. For fun, I bought it and wore it to the next Pats' game. Subsequently, someone gave me this (laughing, she tipped her glittering hat). People started noticing my patriotic game attire, including Patriots’ owner, Bob Kraft. I hoped it encouraged our team. Once, when he stopped by our seats, he told me he liked my outfit and it would be our good luck outfit!”
No Strings Attached
A Treasure Trove of Talent
Meet Anna Schaffer, actress, dynamo and community servant. Anna grew up in Fuquay-Verina, a tiny tobacco-farming town in North Carolina. She is the only child of parents who have always supported her in following her dreams. Anna started piano lessons at age 5, performed her first solo at church at age 7, and was on stage playing character roles by age 9. Throughout high school, she studied and performed with the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory Production Company. Upon graduation in 2007, Anna headed off to Elon University to study performance. Midway through her sophomore year, she felt her creativity becoming more and more stifled as a result of the translation of her performances into grades by the professors. “There was no longer a personal connection. I wasn’t in love with the process,” she said. After some long and hard considerations, she left the department and switched majors to history and political science. She didn’t look at a piece of music for the next couple years. It would be another two years before she would be interested in performing again. Anna contemplated this hiatus and realized it was actually a gift.
Laser Sharp Focus
When I met Ashley Hamlin, I was aware she won an award at a science fair. I knew she was good at math and science. Immediately, I was impressed with her calm and candid manner and pleased when her smile revealed dimples and a reserved humor. As a high school junior, she seemed atypical only in her lack of self-consciousness and the giggly giddiness common to teenage girls. She wore dark fingernail polish, cool rings and mentioned her boyfriend Andrew.
Charity Angels...Celebrating Those Who Give of Themselves
Magical and enchanting, gardens provide many exciting hours of pleasure. Whether it’s of our own creation or the enjoyment of others’ gardens, for those of us who love flowers, they enhance our lives and give us many seasons of memorable delights. Especially in springtime, gardens have a way of drawing people from their homes teaching them the wonders of nature and enriching their spirits.