Review Category : Profile

Bob Guinn and Ed Pappas of the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program: Training tomorrow’s leaders today

By Lanier Laney

Ever since moving to the Lowcountry, both Bob Guinn and Ed Pappas have immersed themselves in volunteer activities. So much so, that they now head a program that gives residents an inside look about how the city and county work, as well as providing information about local nonprofit institutions so participants will know how best to apply their own volunteer interests and leadership skills.

Ed Pappas and Bob Guinn

Ed Pappas and Bob Guinn

For the past 21 years, Clemson University Extension Service has sponsored the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program. This program, dedicated to encouraging volunteerism and community involvement, seeks mentoring by existing leaders for its participants and is geared toward training tomorrow’s community leaders

Thirty-five senior leadership participants spend one day a week involved with community leaders and local experts. Every Wednesday, from January to early April, the class meets at a topic-specific venue such as Penn Center, USCB, Parris Island, Honey Horn, and Town Hall, to name a few. A typical 12 week program involves over 100 speakers at over several dozen locations within Beaufort County. To date, more than 735 people have completed the program, and Beaufort is a better place because of it.

Bob is director of the program and Ed could be described as the program’s Number 1 volunteer “extraordinaire.” For the past 16 years he has helped oversee planning, developing and implementing the next year’s program with other student graduates. He’s currently working on the 2015 class.

Says Ed, “In June 1997, I retired after a 30 year corporate career, in a variety of capacities, with AT&T in Basking Ridge, NJ. And with my wife, Sandra Chavez (who also worked at AT&T), we relocated in 1998 to Callawassie Island.

“We immediately fell in love with the Lowcountry, the environment, the history, the culture. Living most of our adult lives in the Northeast, we thirsted for more information about the area.

“In November 1998, we enrolled in Clemson Extension’s Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program which gave us in-depth knowledge and exposure to a diverse set of government, civic, social and nonprofit institutions in Beaufort County. Beaufort County Senior Leadership gave us more knowledge of Beaufort County in 12 weeks than we gained from living in our home county in New Jersey in 12 years.”

After taking the program, both Ed and Sandra became involved with area nonprofits. Ed stayed on as a volunteer and currently chairs the Clemson University State Advisory Council, whose goal is to promote and support extension activities to favorably impact the quality of life of all South Carolina citizens. He also became a volunteer with environmental organizations and issues, starting with Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs and eventually becoming a board members on the Rural & Critical Lands Preservation Board, Port Royal Sound Foundation and Low Country Institute.

His wife Sandra became equally involved: First as a volunteer with nonprofits, then as chairperson for the Lowcountry Human Development Center in Okatie and United Way of the Lowcountry.

Knoxville, Tenn., native Bob Guinn is the lead agent for Beaufort, Jasper, and Colleton counties for Clemson University Extension. As an employee of Clemson, he is in charge of the many outreach programs and teaching efforts the extension conducts in the area. He also is the executive director of the State Extension Advisory Council.

He met the love of his life, wife Karen, at the University of Tennessee, where he worked before coming to Clemson, in 1979. Karen is a retired math teacher, and they are proud of their two sons — Robert and Christopher — who graduated from Beaufort High School and are now at the College of Charleston and Clemson University, repesctively.

Bob said, “In extension, we like to help people improve the quality of their lives.” To that end, he has conducted, supported, and taught leadership skills in over 65 leadership programs across the state in Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, Lexington, Hampton, Allendale, Orangeburg and Bamberg counties.

Bob was also vice-president for Habitat for Humanity of the Lowcountry for two years, a member of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce for many years, and president of the Lowcountry Wellness Organization for years. He enjoys sailboat racing and is currently outfitting a sailboat with the plan of exploring the Intracoastal Waterway.

Says Ed, “In my 16 years with Beaufort County Senior Leadership, I have met an amazing and diverse number of persons who have gone on to share their life experiences and careers with the citizens of Beaufort County. I am humbled and enriched by having played a part of their continuing journey. I am grateful to Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension Service for introducing me to the opportunities for civic engagement; for inspiring me to ‘give back’ some of the richness of my life experiences and career so to positively contribute to the quality of life of South Carolina citizens.”

To sign up for next year’s Beaufort County Senior Leadership program, go to

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Nathan Harris: Making the world a better place, one child at a time

By Lanier Laney

Nathan Harris, 84, could have lived a life of leisure. Born into a wealthy English family, he did not have to work after he graduated from college. He spent his time fox hunting three days a week, hunting, shooting, and riding the steeplechase the other days.

Nathan Harris, 84, is often seen in one of his dapper outfits riding his bike around town.

Nathan Harris, 84, is often seen in one of his dapper outfits riding his bike around town.

But he felt there must be more to life, some contribution he could make. His father had served his community as Lord Mayor of Leicester England. Nathan remembers WWII vividly when, as a child, he watched his father constantly work to get refugees and Jews out of France before and after the Nazis took over. He also remembered a vacation at the seashore where he watched the legendary flotilla of small boats manned by local citizens rescue more than 30,000 British troops from across the English channel the night that France fell to the Germans and the Nazis were rushing to annihilate the trapped troops.

He saw that one person’s efforts could make a big difference in peoples’ lives and he wanted to do that also.

His first chance came when he was elected to Leicester County Council. He started looking for ways he could help improve the quality of life of  local families. A deeply spiritual man, he also chaired the Parish Council. He felt education was a way to open horizons for many of the poor, working class children there. He became involved with the Leicester Education Authority (which was the largest education authority in England at the time) and later became its head. Over the years, it became a model as one of the most progressive and successful education authorities in England and received many awards.  While there, Nathan also organized students and teachers to create the most successful youth orchestra in Britain.

After seeing what enrichment music brought to the students’ lives, Nathan wanted to expand their experience of the visual arts as well, since many were too poor to travel to the great museums of London. Nathan oversaw the creation of the finest collection of art by living artists in Britain outside of the Tate Gallery by getting artists involved to put their art in schools for students to feel and touch and experience first hand. The collection even featured pieces from English art icons, including famed sculptor Henry Moore.

Nathan was head of the these organizations for more than 20 years, as well as being a columnist on education and social improvement issues for two major London-based newspapers (The Times and Guardian) and often appeared on television as a popular pundit.

Before she became Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher was appointed Minister of Education for England. In that capacity she began to butt heads with Nathan, who was chairman of the Leicester Education Authority and East Midlands Arts Association.

Says Nathan, “She thought art and music were unnecessary, a waste of money and irrelevant. She said publicly that the idea of bringing culture into the education of working class children gave them ideas beyond their station.” He continues, “She started off good by restraining the unions, but her anti-working class attitude proved to be a disaster. So though they think here in America she’s the cat’s whiskers, by the time she left office she wasn’t well regarded in England and had lost her luster.”

But before that, when Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister, Nathan decided it was time to leave England.  Says Nathan “I didn’t want to see my life’s work destroyed. There was nothing I could do to stop it.”

Nathan’s marriage of 27 years — which resulted in “four wonderful children” — had ended in divorce a few years earlier and he had met a new love, Alison Strong, from a well-regarded aristocratic family.

Says Nathan, “She was a unique second wife in that she insisted on giving everything to my first wife.”

Realizing he’d have to make money, Nathan flew to New York City and joined a marketing business run by a friend there. The friend, who lived in Connecticut, wanted to move the business South to a little town called Beaufort, and that’s how Nathan ended up here.

His wife, Ally, soon followed and became the office manager at Fripp Island Real Estate company.  They lived together in Beaufort for eight years.

Unfortunately, Ally became sick and passed away after a long illness. Nathan had to mortgage the house to pay all the hospital bills, which he did, and had enough left over to barely buy the historic Joseph Patterson House on the corner of Duke and Newcastle street in the Northwest Quadrant in downtown Beaufort. Although it was a “falling down wreck,” he and a carpenter friend persevered, and over the years, saved it and restored it to its present day beauty.

Nathan has been involved with AMIkids Beaufort (formerly known as the Beaufort Marine Institute) since its early days for the past 23 years.

Says Nathan, “I think it is the best program for young people in trouble with the law in the world.  Nearly 80 percent non-recidivism, and it’s usually the other way around.   The Department of Juvenile Justice recommends kids they think will benefit from the program. It’s phenomenally successful.”

At the recent AMIkids Croquet Fundraiser at Brays Island, Nathan, as one of the “master of ceremonies,” stayed on the mic with his soft-cultured English accent for nearly four hours, talking to the crowd about the organization and imploring them to contribute. As a result, he raised nearly $45,000 of the record $95,000 raised this year.

AMIkids has literally helped hundreds and hundreds of young men get back on track with their lives over the 20 years Nathan has been working with them.

Nathan has also enjoyed being the eucharistic minister at St. Helena’s Episcopal Church for over 20 years.  He’s been friends with Rev. Alexander McBride, the minister of the First African Baptist Church on The Point, for years and finds his sermons “very inspirational” and the people in the congregation “lovely.”

About Beaufort, Nathan says, “It’s a very interesting mixture of many sorts of people that I find interesting. The epitome of American small town charm.”

Nathan met the third love of his life, Carol Washington, and they were married three years ago when he was 81.  You can often see Nathan in one of his dapper outfits, biking around town. He says it helps him stay well and fit.

“Life in Beaufort has been pretty good and I hope it goes on for another 84 years,” he said.

Nathan Harris has demonstrated  that one person, no matter what age, can make a difference in children’s lives, and we thank him for that.

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Foodie Kingdom: Beaufortonians Ann Gassenheimer and Pat Gallagher turn local cooking business into nationwide success

By Lanier Laney

It all started in their backyard garden on The Point in Beaufort when husband and wife team Ann Gassenheimer and Pat Gallagher canned local kumquats and gave them to some friends — who loved them. It has now grown into a national food business that sold 30,000 jars of products last year.

Pat Gallagher and Ann Gassenheimer are the owners of Vegetable Kingdom.

Pat Gallagher and Ann Gassenheimer are the owners of Vegetable Kingdom.

Says Pat, “We moved to Beaufort with many plans that did not include Vegetable Kingdom. But Ann’s cooking and canning caught the attention of new friends, and before we knew it we were selling jams and many other foods at the newly opened Port Royal Farmers Market. That is the first place we ever sold and where we returned last fall after a break from settling into our new kitchen. There are more products than when we started but many of the originals are still in production.”

Vegetable Kingdom began as a preserving company making unique pepper jellies and jams. It now sells a wide variety of meals, dressings, marinades, sauces, relishes, chutney, and more.  They make condiments and foods for everyday as well as special occasions.

Ann says, “I created Vegetable Kingdom with an overreaching idea that food could be grown, cooked and sold for many to share a great flavor from a very specific place in a way that tells a story about how and why that particular flavor tastes so unique and good.

“Not everyone has the time or desire for routine meal preparation, so a major goal from the outset was to make all or part of a delicious meal come from the jar in your hand. Every product can be used in many different ways to help in your kitchen. This goes for leftovers, which our condiments can make shine like new.”

Adds Pat, “We grow some of the plants that end up in our products, but much of our raw materials come from people we know, farmers within miles of our kitchen in Garden’s Corner who want their crops to be made into something for people to enjoy.”

Says Ann, “We were both heavily influenced by our Louisiana and Alabama grandmothers. We have very similar stories of learning to preserve fresh foods, cook unique dishes, pluck chickens, scale fish, shell peas and grow gardens — all from our grandmothers. Everyone had gardens, and we have had one since we met, going on 21 years. We sometimes wish that Nonnie and Mamaw could be here to help in the kitchen and to see what we have done with all they taught us.”

Pat says, “We always have new products in the works.  One customer requested a creamy Greek dressing, another a simple herb vinaigrette, so these are both in development. We want to remain flexible and responsive to the desires of our customers, in so far as we can.

“Salad dressings are very important because they are time-consuming to make at home. By the time all the greens and other vegetables are washed and ready, you don’t want to start from scratch with a dressing — who has that kind of time? “

In the works right now is a Green Tomato Ketchup which, while like a red ketchup, is flavorfully unique.

“This summer will see us adding new salsas to our line and in the fall, additional soups,” said Pat.

Vegetable Kingdom’s most popular products are Gumbo, Hot Pepper Pecan Jelly,  Smoky Pepper Jelly, and Mango Chutney. In the summer months they sell a lot of Watermelon Raspberry Jam and Ginger Lemonade Jam.

“Fast rising in popularity is Smoky Pineapple Sauce,” says Ann. “It’s very versatile: great as a marinade or finishing sauce. We use it at home often.”

Pat and Ann have been working with Whole Foods Market for two years now, and recently became the store’s regional supplier of gumbo, creole, and etouffee. Whole Foods also carries about 10 other Vegetable Kingdom products.

One of their newest clients is Southern Season, with stores in Charleston, Chapel Hill and more planned to open. They supply many small stores across South Carolina and beyond.

Vegetable Kingdom’s production kitchen is 5,000 square feet, including a warehouse. They also have a garden of quarter acre where they organically grow many items necessary for their products.

Says Pat, “This year we reached a milestone — most every product we make had at least one ingredient grown from our garden!”

Ann creates the recipes, manages production, and runs the day-to-day kitchen operation. She also bakes bread and pastry and takes the occasional catering job.

When Pat is not selling to new stores, or selling at farmers markets and festivals, he helps with the heavy work of cooking in a 40 gallon kettle, and he is still making roux that his grandmother taught him to make when he was 6. He also manages the warehouse, order fulfillment and creation of all Vegetable Kingdom labels, which he designs and prints on site.

Says Ann, “We love Beaufort, the Lowcountry, the South and food.  It is in our DNA a bit deeper than some. Everything we do revolves around growing and cooking good food. So this is where our adventure began and it just keeps getting better.”


• Their products include Gumbo, Creole, Etouffee, Chow Chow, Zucchini Relish, Three Pepper Tomatilla Salsa, Hot Pepper Pecan Jelly, Smoky Pepper Jelly, Lime Pepper Jelly, Peach Pepper Jelly, Hot Pear Chutney, Mango Chutney, Smoky Pineapple Sauce, Tofu Dressing, Dee’s Diamond Dressing (dijon vinaigrette), Peach Mango Jam, Watermelon Raspberry Jam, Ginger Lemonade Jam, and Caramel Apple Butter. They also offer Cranberry Apple Relish and Orange Cranberry Sauce for the holidays and an array of ready-to-eat foods and baked goods at farmers markets.

Owner Pat Gallagher said some new products include: 

• Massaman Curry (a  classic Thai curry) 

• Smoky Pepper Jelly (they smoke the peppers in a wood smoker)

• Ghost Pepper Jelly (hotter than most)

• Three Pepper Relish ( to spice up anything you want hotter)

• Bankok To Bali Noodle Soup (an Asian soup base you can make to suit your mood).

Vegetable Kingdom products can be found at Whole Foods Market (Southeastern Region), Earthfare, Suzara’s Kitchen and Sea Eagle in Beaufort, Nuances in Port Royal, Mangos on Fripp, and many more locations listed on their web site. They sell at the Port Royal Farmers Market on Saturdays, The Bluffton Farmers Market on Thursdays, and also at the Savannah Farmers Market in Forsyth Park on Saturdays.

 For more information about Vegetable Kingdom, write to P.O. Box 41 Sheldon, SC, 29941, or email or visit online. Call 843-441-3339, or find them on Facebook, Square Up and on Amazon.

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Chandler Trask not only builds custom homes for clients, but has built a happy life for his family in Beaufort: Dream Builder

By Lanier Laney

Beaufort native Chandler Trask specializes in building custom homes and remodeling existing ones in Northern Beaufort County.

He started building homes in the early 1990s and created Chandler Trask Construction two years ago. He originally  worked as a real estate appraiser and owned his own company, Trask Appraisal. While working as a real estate appraiser he was able to see all types of construction up close — from the good to the not-so-good.

Chandler and Amy Trask

Chandler and Amy Trask

Says Chandler, “I started building spec homes at first and found that I really love building. It was fun to see a project come together and it’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to provide someone with a home they love.”

His work philosophy is simple. “The way I see it, it’s their house, they are the customer,” Chandler says. “My job is to give them the house they’ve always dreamed of on time and within their budget. I am so proud of the homes I’ve built and it makes me feel really good to see them enjoying their new house.  Amy and I are going to an open house at a home I built this weekend and I just love to see how excited they are to entertain and show off their new place.  That why I do what I do.”

His lovely wife, Amy, is a Virginia native, and the two have been married 21 years. Says Chandler with a smile, “Amy and I met at a fraternity party at USC. She was really just talking to me to make some other guy jealous, but in the end I got her — not him!”

Adds Amy, “I thought Chandler was the sweetest, funniest guy I’d ever met!  I’ll never forget when he brought me home to meet his parents about a month after we met. I felt like I’d stepped back in time. Not only was I mesmerized by  the beauty of the historical home he grew up in, but his mother and father were so gracious and kind. I was already picturing myself living in this idyllic little coastal town with two kids hanging out on the porch with his family.  Channy made all my dreams come true!”

Amy has been a media specialist at Lady’s Island Elementary School for the past five years. She has a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina, She’s also a National Board Certified teacher.

Says Amy, “I absolutely LOVE to read and always have, so becoming a school librarian was a natural fit for me. Of course, nowadays a librarian’s job is much more technology oriented but that is fine with me because I’m a major computer nerd.”

She even created the website for her husband’s company.

Chandler said, “I’m a very lucky man. Amy is not only beautiful, but she is so smart. She is so dedicated to her job, but of course her favorite title is Mom.  We’re both so proud of our kids. They’re teenagers now and they’re just such interesting, smart people. It’s awesome!”

Their son Tucker is 17, and daughter Stewart is 14, and both attend Beaufort Academy.

Adds Amy, “Our son is very busy with sports. He plays football, basketball and soccer and we love to attend his games at BA. Our daughter plays tennis and was a cheerleader so football season is so much fun. These are our last few years with them at home so we want to spend as much time as we can with them (when they’ll let us).”

Both Amy and Chandler are big fans of Beaufort. “I can’t really imagine living anywhere else,” says Chandler. “Fishing and boating is a huge part of my life. Just the natural beauty that you see even driving around town between job sites is enough to take your breath away. I get busy though and I have to remind myself how lucky I am to live here, especially when I’m waiting for the bridge!

“There was never any doubt that this is where I wanted to raise a family. I have two brothers and a sister and we all live in Beaufort so I’d say this place certainly puts a hold on you.”

Adds Amy, “I’m from Virginia Beach which is a really big town so I love the small town lifestyle here. Raising my children here has been such a blessing. People really look out for each other and each others’ kids in Beaufort. Whether it’s a tragedy or a celebration, people show up for you in Beaufort. I know that whatever comes my way I have so many dear friends who have my back and  that is such a comforting feeling in today’s crazy world. Beaufort makes me feel safe. It’s home.”

Chandler grew up watching his dad do construction. His father developed the Plaza Shopping center (on the corner of Boundary and Robert Smalls Parkway) and started the Plaza Theater, which the family still runs today.

When it comes to his business, Chandler says, “Well, I’m a one man show so I’m in charge of everything.  That helps me give my customers a personal touch (and keep costs down).  If they hire me to build their house, they’re going to deal with me and only me. I will be on the job site every day.  I encourage my clients to call me on my cell at anytime. I love that personal connection. One of the things my past clients say about me most frequently is how easy I am to work with. I want them to be happy because, for most of my clients, this house is something they’ve been dreaming about for many years. I want the house and the whole building experience to exceed their expectations, and it usually does!”

If you want to build your dream house or remodel your present one, you can get in touch with Chandler at 843-321-9625, or you can go to his website at or email

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Ex Libris: Beaufort’s longest running book club celebrates 20 years

By Lanier Laney

Ex Libris, Beaufort’s longest running book club, was started in 1994 and is now celebrating 20 years of good friends getting together to discuss literature.

After developing a reading list at the beginning of the year, the women meet once a month to discuss the book — and maybe drink a little wine. They try to include a variety of genres from fiction to biographies to self-help and historical fiction. They have developed a reputation as the serious book club.

Members of the Ex Libris book club. Front, from left: Gwen Sanders and Sandra Myrick. Second row: Nancy Brown, Valerie Fisher, Vicki Mix, Rosemary Cuppia and Audrey Montgomery. Third row: Cindy Newman, Mary Sanders, Mary Segars, Priscilla Coleman, Fleetwood Bradshaw. Back row: Kathy Kilgore, Sally Post and Frances Cherry.

Members of the Ex Libris book club. Front, from left: Gwen Sanders and Sandra Myrick. Second row: Nancy Brown, Valerie Fisher, Vicki Mix, Rosemary Cuppia and Audrey Montgomery. Third row: Cindy Newman, Mary Sanders, Mary Segars, Priscilla Coleman, Fleetwood Bradshaw. Back row: Kathy Kilgore, Sally Post and Frances Cherry.

There are roughly 25 members; 16 of them have been with the club since the beginning. Some of the original members include Rosemary Cuppia, Gwen Sanders, Frances Cherry, Cindy Newman, Fleetwood Bradshaw, Vicki Mix, Kathy Kilgore, Sally Post, Mary Sanders, Priscilla Coleman, Fran Sanders, Mary Tatum, Sally Shepard, Laura Dukes, Sarah Kern, Robin Koppernaes and Liz Malinowski.

They have seen a lot of changes over the years — babies born, high school and college graduations, marriages, and now even grandchildren.

The group first came together at Kathy Kilgore’s house after several members had heard about book clubs being formed elsewhere. Those original members have now read and discussed 240 books (one a month for 20 years). Their first book was “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and one of their most recent books “The Fault in Our Stars” is also being made into a movie.

Kathy says, “I think our club is dynamic because many of us don’t socialize together any other time except book club. We come together and get one another’s perspective on a whole range of subjects. There are always a few disagreements, but we respect each other’s opinions.”

They take turns having the meetings at each other’s homes and each person brings appetizers to go with the wine.

Even with 25 members, between prior commitments, family events, and other distractions, they usually end up with 12 to 15 people at a meeting, which, as one member said, is the perfect number to be able to discuss the book. That’s why current membership is limited to 25, and there is a waiting list.

Member Vicki Mix admits that they particularly enjoyed reading the young adult books. “It lets us know what our kids are reading,” she said.

Fleetwood Bradshaw said, “Over the last 20 years, the lives of our members have been interwoven creating a tapestry of friendship. We have gooed over babies and wept over graves. We have cheered each other’s accomplishments and supported each other during times of illness, disappointments and sorrow.  We raised babies, built houses, attended school and church events. We’ve taken our children to college and our parents to nursing homes. We watched our children marry  and now watch as our babies have babies. Who knows what books and what events will take us through the next 20 years. We met over the love of words and we stay for words of love.”

She adds, “A wise friend once told me, you will never be lonely as long as you have a book to read.”

Says Kathy Kilgore, “Personally, this club has encouraged me to read books I may otherwise have not picked up. It provides me with a new perspective on many subjects and it has been a wonderful journey with a fabulous group of women.”

As a group they have contributed more than $3,000 to a variety of causes including Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, DSS Adopt a Family, Born to Read, National Wildlife Foundation and Friends of Caroline Hospice.  They pick a deserving organization to give to every year. And every December they invite spouses and guests to an annual Christmas Party.

They have also hosted many visiting authors such as Mary Kay Andrews, Lois Battle, Cassandra King and Tommy Hayes. A favorite highlight was hosting Matthew Bruccoli, a professor of English at the University of South Carolina and the preeminent expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Kathy said, “Many people don’t realize that The Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald constitutes the most comprehensive research collection for the study and teaching of Fitzgerald and is housed at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.”

The club’s current “leader” is Sandra Myrick. She says, “I would like to thank the founding members for all their efforts throughout the years in motivating the group to continue for the past 20 years!  What an accomplishment. I would also like to thank all of our members past and present for giving of their time and talents to keep this fine organization of lovely ladies meeting to discuss an open-minded collection of reading and contributing to the many nonprofits over the years. I hope that we will be celebrating our organization many, many more years to come. The past 20 have proven very successful so I am hoping in the next decades to have the same success.”

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Refined Design: Meet Maleia Everidge, Grayco’s in-store home designer

By Lanier Laney

Over the past few years, Grayco Hardware has been undergoing a dramatic transformation into Grayco Home and Hardware with the addition of beautiful decorative objects for home, garden and entertaining.

Maleia Everidge is seen in The Lowcountry Living Showroom at Grayco on Lady’s Island.

Maleia Everidge is seen in The Lowcountry Living Showroom at Grayco on Lady’s Island.

The creation of this transformation has been a result of the hard work of Marjorie Gray and Maleia Everidge, Grayco’s in-house designer. Maleia, a North Carolina native, says, “Thanks to Marjorie, Grayco is a family owned local hardware store that has taken on a new image — not only as a place where you can find the tools to build or repair a home but beautifully decorate it as well.”

The now-gorgeous home department that was started by Marjorie as a few humble shelves in the middle of the store four years ago has expanded to an entire furniture and lamp department in the back of the store. Maleia currently oversees and buys for this “Lowcountry Living Showroom.”

Marjorie hired Maleia as her co-buyer and in-house designer two years ago.

”Maleia has been a very successful designer in Beaufort for years; I saw her work and loved it and what a wonderful fit it has been for us,” Marjorie said.

Maleia got her design experience early, working in some of the best designer showrooms at the famous North Carolina furniture market in High Point during college.

She started her first design business in the early 2000’s, a few years after graduating from the University of North Carolina.  She also gained experience building and renovating numerous homes of her own and for friends and clients over the years. She’s a former associate of Beaufort’s prestigious M Home and Garden store on Bay Street, where she further refined her craft.

Maleia “discovered” Beaufort through her good friends Francis and David Cherry. She and her husband moved here and raised three wonderful children. Zach, 21, is now at the College of Charleston; Addie, 19, attends Clemson University; and Emma, 17, goes to Beaufort Academy.

Says Maleia about Beaufort, “I just love the sense of community we all have here and our beautiful setting on the coast.”

Maleia has volunteered for more than 10 years with Historic Beaufort Foundation and has been an active contributor to many of the beautiful decorations at the organization’s annual soiree and other events. She is also very involved with St. Peter’s Catholic Church’s “Homes for the Holidays,” where she has decorated five acclaimed show houses.

When it comes to her style, Maleia says, “Some people call it ‘Coastal Chic’, to me it’s more of a ‘Refined Rustic.’ For example, I’d put an elegant, modern, white lamp on a table with a driftwood finish. I love clean, modern, simple, sophisticated, and to me, the rustic part makes it approachable, warm and inviting, by using lots of natural materials and finishes and more casual and easy living for our seaside lifestyle. I like to make people feel good in a room and that it shows a part of their personality.”

With so many people redoing their beach rentals this time of the year, Maleia specializes in the “quick refresher.” She keeps up with the trends in home design and says you can do it easily (without spending a fortune) with some new graphic pillows, a pair of modern lamps and maybe a mirror.

In the Lowcountry Living Showroom, Maleia has worked hard to give customers a high-end chic look, at a great price. She points to a mirror and says, “That mirror on the wall looks exactly like a Mitchell Gold which retails for almost $1,000. Our version is $299.”

The showroom also exclusively carries one of Maleia’s favorite High Point furniture collections called Braxton and Culler, made in the USA. (It’s proved to be so popular they can barely keep it in the store!) She brought modern graphic wallpaper and fabric to the store and several new lamp lines, to name just a few. She also loves the new Benjamin Moore paint line that Grayco owner Herb Gray has added “because of their beautiful coastal colors.”

If a customer brings a picture of a room or a paint swatch to the store, Maleia will gladly give advice there. For larger jobs, she has a successful interior design business called ME Design where she does large and small residential and commercial projects.  She recently did a very beautiful re-do of Dr. Karen Eller’s office in Port Royal.   She’s been a great resource too for other top interior designers in the Lowcountry who visit her often for suggestions and help.

It’s rare to find a place like Grayco that can meet all your decorating needs — from nails to designer sofas — under one roof. And with Maleia Everidge on the team as the in-store designer, the store has hit a “home run.”

CONTACT MALEIA: Call her interior design business ME Design at 843-812-1814, visit her at Grayco Hardware and Home, 136 Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island, SC, 843-521-8060, or email

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Coordinating Care: Friends of Caroline Hospice hires new director of clinical operations

By Lanier Laney

Lindsay Roberg, BSN, RN, was recently hired as the new director of clinical operations for Friends of Caroline Hospice, a local nonprofit that provides quality care and support for those living with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Lindsay Roberg is the director of clinical operations for Friends of Caroline Hospice.

Lindsay Roberg is the director of clinical operations for Friends of Caroline Hospice.

Lindsay oversees the daily operations of the clinical staff at Friends of Caroline Hospice and is a  part of the clinical team. Her job consists of hiring, scheduling, education and coordinating care to ensure the best patient and family holistic care possible.

“My job is full of puzzles and everyday is different!” she said. “I love it because it allows problem solving that positively impacts people’s lives. I always say I love the difference that Friends of Caroline Hospice can make in an hour. It’s amazing.”

Lindsay, who was born in Carbondale, Illinois, in southern Illinois, said she was raised all over the U.S. as a military brat. “My family moved every three years so I’ve lived in all types of places including Fargo, North Dakota, and Yuma, Arizona. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Beaufort though — I guess I can officially call myself a local? I’ve been here 19 years.”

She “discovered” Beaufort because her father was stationed here twice. After he retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years, the family settled here.

Lindsay met her husband, Jim Spratling, at the Habersham Farmers Market. He was running a French bistro there and Lindsay and her mom were selling goat milk soap at the market. They have been very happily married for four years.

Jim, formerly a chef at Saltus, has been working at the Callawassee Island Club as the executive chef for the past two years.

Lindsay is very proud of the children of her blended family: her daughter, Madisen, 8, attends Riverview Charter School, while her stepson Jaxon, 14, attends Beaufort Middle School, and Miles, 10, attends Bridges Preparatory School.

Her favorite thing about Beaufort is being outdoors — whether it’s boating, fishing, kayaking or scuba diving. “There is always someway to enjoy the beauty of where we live,” she said.

When it comes to her job, Lindsay said she has always known she wanted to work in the medical field. “My road has been a long tangled one that I believe led me to this career for my purpose,” she says. “After working for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for 10 years as a biologist, I bit the bullet and went back to school for nursing. I couldn’t be happier about my choice. It was difficult, but so worth it.”

Lindsay describes the critical role that nurses play when it comes to hospice care: “Nurses have the ability to connect with mankind on a very personal level, one that is both the beginning and end of life. The impact that a nurse can have on this journey is one that was intriguing to me. Hospice care is a field of nursing that is misunderstood and continues to carry stigmas. It is important for nurses to advocate for hospice care in end-of-life. The support that a patient and their support system can experience can change the dynamics of end-of-life care.  Once I had the experience of hospice, I knew it was the field for me.  We are able to help people at a time in life that is very important for the human experience.”

She said she hopes to change people’s misconceptions about hospice care.  “Generally when people think of hospice care, they immediately think of the bad.  There are a lot of good, happy moments in hospice. It is very rewarding.”

Her dedication toward her chosen career and her work ethic she learned from her family. Lindsay says, “My parents always taught me that our most important work is to have a purpose.  Whether it is something you are drawn to or a purpose you create, put 110 percent into whatever you are doing.  My dad always said ‘you may not be able to change the world, but you can change your corner.’ That is my mission.  I want to educate this community about hospice care and the importance of taking care of one another.”

Friends of Caroline Hospice started out as a group of individuals who saw a need for hospice care in Beaufort and wanted to make a difference in the community, and 33 years later the organization continues to full fill that mission. Says Lindsay, “People helping people — that’s what it’s all about.”

• If interested in volunteering or donating or finding out more about this local nonprofit, contact Friends of Caroline Hospice by calling 843-525-6257 or visiting the office at 1110 13th Street, Port Royal, SC, 29935, or online at

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Rick and Deborah Stone of the Beaufort Bread Company: Baking up goodness

By Lanier Laney

Rick and Deborah Stone operate the Beaufort Bread Company where they oversee every aspect of the operation from the making of the breads, pastries, sausages and meals to the service and catering.

Says Rick, “We pride ourselves on being a local neighborhood business for the benefit of our neighbors on Lady’s Island and Beaufort. Deborah runs a personal fitness training business as well. She proves that you can eat our breads and pastries and remain fit!”

Rick and Deborah Stone in Paris where they go for food inspiration. They are in their pajamas in front of the Eiffel Tower on Christmas morning. Rick said, “We love to travel and our favorite place in the world is Paris where I simply let Deborah, who is fluent in French, do the talking and I just nod and follow along. My one attempt at ordering in French I ordered a battleship of wine rather than a bottle. I have been silent in that language ever since.”

Rick and Deborah Stone in Paris where they go for food inspiration. They are in their pajamas in front of the Eiffel Tower on Christmas morning. Rick said, “We love to travel and our favorite place in the world is Paris where I simply let Deborah, who is fluent in French, do the talking and I just nod and follow along. My one attempt at ordering in French I ordered a battleship of wine rather than a bottle. I have been silent in that language ever since.”

Rick, a native of Wilmette, Illinois, retired from a large global contract food service company three years ago. He says with a smile, “After six months, Deborah asked me if I was going to be home every day. I realized that was not simply a question. She was studying hard to get her certification as a personal physical fitness trainer and was used to me traveling. I had always loved baking in my career as a chef and saw a niche in Beaufort for an artisan bakery.”

He said the idea took off from there. “We spent two years developing the concept. We began by selling breads at the Port Royal Farmers Market and developed a following. Next, we worked on the site. It was quite a ride and probably deserves a book on the topic of starting a small business in a difficult financial time. Once we truly recognized that banks would not be a part of the equation and we would have to leverage our children’s inheritance, everything began to fall in place. (Our children, by the way, are hoping for a huge success!),” Rick said.

“We live on Lady’s Island and love it. Picking a site on the island was a no-brainer. Our first year has been full of ups and downs as we found our stride. We have evolved in ways we didn’t anticipate but have always kept our focus on the goal of being a successful local business.”

Rick adds, “We have been truly overwhelmed by the support of our community. We have a staff that we believe is the best in the area at providing a welcoming environment and taking care of each customer as if he or she were the only customer in the place”

Deborah, who was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec (the child of English and American parents) met Rick at the Stowehoff Inn in Stowe, Vt. (It was the inn featured in the movie “The Four Seasons” with Alan Alda, if you are old enough to remember). Rick was a newly hired chef and Deborah was the assistant general manager in charge of catering when they fell in love and got married.

Rick said, “We are happily celebrating our 25th anniversary next month thanks to her incredible patience and forgiving nature!”

They adore their three grown children who live in Vermont; Boston, Mass.; and Ghana, Africa; with three delightful grandchildren in Vermont.

Rick describes how he became a chef: “I started as a dishwasher while attending Georgetown University and moved up to an Omelette Chef, which was very trendy in the 70’s. I graduated with a Liberal Arts degree in Psychology and had learned to cook. It is easy to figure out which skill led to a job. As I worked my way though many kitchens in Chicago and Vermont, I realized this was my life’s work. When I finally won an American Culinary Federation Competition, I figured I better stick with this.

“Over the years as a chef, the baking and pastries often fell to me because there was no one else to do the work. I enjoyed the challenge. I have trained in pastries at the Ritz-Carlton in Paris, taken courses at the CIA in Hyde Park, N.Y., and competed in American Culinary Federation Competitions.”

When Deborah and  Rick married, they knew they wanted to do something together. They looked for the “right” place to open a restaurant. Their search took them throughout New England and then, on a whim, to Hilton Head where they fell in love with the place and opened their first restaurant, Rick’s Place. Eventually, they expanded to operating not only the restaurant but all the food service in The Sea Pines Resort, including the catering at the Heritage Golf Tournament and Family Circle Tennis Cup.

Says Rick, “Like so many people who have moved to Hilton Head, we were sure it was the guy who moved there right after us that ruined the character of the island. We had close friends who moved to Beaufort and insisted it was a place for us. After selling the restaurants and living in Mexico and Belize for a year we came back and eventually did settle in Beaufort. We love the size and the feel of the community. We have met so many interesting people since opening the bakery that our only regret is that we didn’t move here sooner.”

Adds Deborah, “We love the spirit of Beaufort. It is a community of caring people and a terrific mix of people from all over the world.”

She said, “We both love the outdoors and take advantage of all that Beaufort offers. Whether it be kayaking out our back door, hitting the links (and I use that term loosely), road biking or simply enjoying the amazing sunsets from our porch, cocktails in hand (I am sure that is a sport somewhere!), we take advantage of every spare moment to enjoy our amazing environment.”

As far as their restaurant and bakery is concerned,  Rick said, “We wanted to create a spot where people can come and relax while enjoying quality food served by people who are grateful you have come to see us. We believe in creating a work environment that allows are employees to live ‘normal’ lives. It is why we are open five days and not at night. Our employees have families and many are single parents and we want them to have balance in their challenging lives. Kristen, Laura and Loretta are extremely talented individuals who put our guests first. We couldn’t ask for a better trio out front serving our goods. James, our chef; Brandy and Inna, our bakers; and Xavier and David, our dishwashers, all give 100 percent to make things happen.”

Says Deborah, “Food is just another outlet for Rick’s creative endeavors. He is truly the quintessential Renaissance man. In fact, he personally made and designed the lighting fixtures, tables, countertops, and stained glass leading into the eclectic bathroom at the BBC.”

Deborah is a skilled personal fitness trainer, and Rick jokingly calls her “Jackie Lalane” after the legendary Jack Lalane, the first fitness guru in the 50s.  Says Rick with a laugh, “I would not be surprised to see her swimming in the Beaufort River, pulling a boat from a rope she is holding in her teeth.”

Deborah fulfilled a lifelong dream when she received her certification as a personal fitness trainer. Having received a teaching degree from McGill University, she always wanted to help people feel better about themselves, both mentally and physically. She is now able to accomplish that with her training business. Her motto remains “70 is the new 40” as she pursues yet another degree in physical therapy.  She is also an avid gardener, having been instrumental in initiating the very successful Rent a Master Gardener Program comprised of volunteer Master Gardeners.

The Stones have enjoyed volunteering for the local arts council and Historic Beaufort Foundation, both great organizations that they feel are very important to the well-being of Beaufort.

As for the future? Rick says, “We certainly expect to develop this business to be a fixture of the community. Retiring again for me would simply be sleeping past 3 a.m.! We hope some day our employees will own the business. They make a great team and it would be a fitting way for us to fade into the sunset.”

IF YOU GO: The Beaufort Bread Company is located at 102 Sea Island Parkway, Beaufort, SC 29907 (near the bike shop on Lady’s Island) and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 843-522-0213.

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Second Helpings: This hard-working local nonprofit distributes food and assists those unable to put food on the table across Beaufort County

Since 1992, Second Helpings — a nonprofit charitable food distribution project — has been committed to fighting hunger in Beaufort County.

Second Helpings Executive Director Maureen Korzik stands with Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia in front of one their delivery trucks.

Second Helpings Executive Director Maureen Korzik stands with Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia in front of one their delivery trucks.

The recognizable trucks are on the roads seven days a week, rescuing food that would have been discarded from area grocery stores and redistributing it to area agencies and churches that serves the disadvantaged countywide.

Last year, Second Helpings was designated a “Charity Angel” by the SC Secretary of State. The group dedicates at least 80 percent of the money raised toward their core mission of rescuing food; very few charities can say that.

In December, Maureen Korzik became the executive director of Second Helpings, and she is working hard to continue the great work already accomplished by the organization, in addition to updating their technology and getting the word out about the important role the group plays in the community.

A self-described “Jersey girl,” Maureen said, “I oversee the day to day operations of Second Helping. That means I do whatever needs being done — manager, fundraiser,  agency relations, marketing and chief bottle washer.”

Maureen loves the ever-changing challenges of the job. “My first week of work, we got a call from Walmart telling us they needed us to pick up five pallets of bananas by the next day!,” she recalled. “Or this past December, Publix called on a Thursday at 5 p.m. and said they had a tractor trailer worth of food from their Christmas food drive (about 16,000 pounds) we needed to pick up by the next day. Our volunteers did it!”

Maureen has been happily married for 28 years to her husband Tom, who worked for Bank of America for 21 years in Charlotte and is now a CPA. She’s the proud mom of Andy, 27, and Pete, 22.

Says Maureen, “We moved here from Charlotte because we wanted to be near the ocean. We grew up going to the Jersey shore every summer. Beaufort is a wonderful town with its waterfront views, friendly people and history.  It reminds me of the town I grew up in.”

Before coming to Beaufort, Maureen worked as an executive director of Matthews Free Health Clinic in Matthews, N.C., in its formative years. She  served on other nonprofit boards, volunteered at her church as a faith formation teacher, did PTA, was a class mom, Cub Scout leader and started a woman’s group called Common Cents that focused on financial literacy for women.

Maureen says, “I have always been very fortunate in all my endeavors. At the end of the day, it’s not about what you get but what you give that makes a fulfilling life.”

She adds, “Second Helpings is a great organization and I’m proud to be a part of it. We are so grateful to have Cesar Garcia, our Beaufort coordinator, and his army of volunteers. They go out seven days a week rescuing food so that others will have something to eat. They rescued over 1.3 million pounds of food last year in Beaufort. They are a dedicated bunch and we love them.”

Beaufort Coordinator Cesar Garcia has been involved with Second Helpings for 10 years. He said, “We rescue unwanted food and serve the community. We believe that no person in our community should have to worry about whether or not they will have enough food to eat today. We fight hunger in a big way. We rescue good, unwanted food, and give it to groups closest in touch with those who need it most. To date, we have rescued over 25 million pounds of food since 1992 and delivered it to over 65 agencies.”

Cesar said the greatest help comes from the supermarkets they deal with such as Bi-Lo,  Food-Lion,  Publix,  Walmart, and other food vendors. “Because of their generous food donations, we are able to provide food to thousands of people in Northern Beaufort County,” he said.

There are 83 big-hearted volunteers who come from Beaufort, Dataw, Cat Island, Lady’s Island and Brays Island.

Adds Cesar, “Most of our volunteers, after working hard all their lives, are now retired. They want to give back to the community by helping in this project. It’s a great feeling to see so much food being distributed, that if not for Second Helpings would have been thrown out. Just knowing you are helping those in need is rewarding enough, and many of our volunteers are comforted by this act of kindness”.

As for the future, Cesar says, “We would like to generate more support and funding from the community. Awareness is the key, and our goals are to heighten public awareness of the needs of the hungry here in Beaufort, and the significant role Second Helpings plays in food distribution and feeding the hungry. We are always in need of new volunteers, and welcome anyone willing to donate their time and be part of the team.”

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With a focus on spending time together and having fun, Bunny and Dennis Mindermann represent Beaufort’s Modern Family

By Pamela Brownstein

Last Friday, adults, teenagers and young children gathered at the Mindermann house to celebrate Bunny Mindermann’s birthday. They all enjoyed grilled steaks, roasted vegetables and Bunny’s favorite salad that features hearts of palm and artichoke hearts.

But more than the food and drink, everyone enjoyed each others’ company — the children played outside, the teenagers told jokes and hung out in the large garage while the adults talked and laughed on the back deck as the tiki torches danced and late afternoon turned into night.

Dennis, center, and Bunny, at right, with kids, (from left) Holt, Ryan and Frank.

Dennis, center, and Bunny, at right, with kids, (from left) Holt, Ryan and Frank.

It’s a typical scene that plays out often at their house, where the emphasis on spending time with friends and loved ones makes this family tight-knit and creates a welcoming environment for others around them.

As the mother of three kids ranging in age from 15 to 4, Bunny stays busy keeping the household running. She grew up in Myrtle Beach and moved to Beaufort in 1996. Most recently she worked full time at Ali’s Attic, but is now enjoying time at home since the store closed last month.

Bunny and Dennis first met when they worked at the same company in Beaufort. But they were both married to other people at the time, so they were just friends. When she stopped working there, the two lost touch. Then, as fate would have it, they ran into each other at a gas station, and that was the spark that reignited their relationship, although this time on a more intimate level.

They have been married for six years, and they are playful and sweet and fun to be around.

Dennis is a laid-back, hard-working guy with a good sense of humor. He likes to work in the yard, and he likes the Blue Angels, he has pictures of the jets hung up all around their garage, which also doubles as a bit of a man cave. He also likes going to the grocery store — he’s well known at the BiLo on Boundary Street because he shops there almost everyday, and their family has saved up some major Fuel Perks.

And it’s a good thing too because they recently added a third car to their fleet in anticipation of Bunny’s oldest daughter, Holt Emeline Winkler, getting her license when she turns 16 at the end of May.

Holt attends Battery Creek High School where she is a stellar student and is also involved with band. She is section leader for the drumline, and she plays the bass drum in marching band and timpani in concert band. She started playing the drums, bells and keyboard in elementary school, and now she’s also a member of the Beaufort Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Even though Holt’s technically a sophomore, after taking her first college credit course this year in English, she realized she learned more in that class than any other, and — because her grades are so good — decided she wanted to graduate a year early.

Bunny said this was hard for her to accept at first, she was planning for the family to have two more years all together, but now she fully supports Holt’s decision because she knows her daughter is smart and driven.

Bunny jokes that one of the biggest challenges of being a parent is “knowing if you are doing the right thing and not messing them up for life!” But she must be doing something right because in addition to being beautiful and talented, both of her daughters are nice, smart and respectful.

As a seventh grader at Beaufort Middle School, Ryan Marie Winkler, is an energetic 13-year-old. With her big blue eyes and long blond hair, this outgoing teen recently landed the lead role in Beaufort Middle School’s production of the musical “Fame.” The public is invited to support the students and see the show on stage at Beaufort High School auditorium on Friday, April 11 at 6 p.m.

Like her sister, Ryan also performs with the Beaufort Symphony Youth Orchestra, but she prefers strings and is the second chair violist.

Frank, 4, is a sweet little guy who keeps everyone on his toes. He likes to play the drums, just like his big sister Holt, and he is fast on his bike, even with training wheels. He turns 5 this year and will start Kindergarten in the fall.

He likes to play with his cousin, Tucker, the son of Bunny’s sister, Anna, who also lives in Beaufort and works at a local daycare facility. The two boys enjoy spending time with their grandma, Frances Siler, who was a third grade teacher at Laurel Bay for 20 years.

With beach season fast approaching, the family is getting ready for their favorite time of the year. Every weekend during the summer, they pack up all their gear — including canopies, coolers and corn hole — and spend the whole day at Hunting Island State Park. Dennis has already purchased and assembled a new grill in anticipation for cooking out at the beach.

Ryan says, “I enjoy spending time as a family and all the activities that we do together, especially our days on the beach at Hunting Island.”

The Mindermanns are also generous people who are always willing to help their friends and neighbors

According to friend Cindy Trainum, “I was introduced to Bunny and Dennis about a year ago by my daughter, Phoebe, who is ‘besties’ with Ryan.  They are such a down-to-earth couple with whom my boyfriend, Pat, and I quickly became fast friends. They are always there when you need them — and always fun to be around!”

The whole family appreciates all that Beaufort has to offer — from the small town charm to the festivals to the natural beauty and outdoor opportunities — and they all make our community a better place to live.

Bunny said, “Our plans for the future include raising our kids and having fun enjoying our town.”

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