Review Category : Profile

James McTeer II: Local author and school librarian draws on family history for first novel

Born and raised in Beaufort, James Edwin McTeer II was inspired by the life of his namesake grandfather – James Edwin McTeer – for Minnow which will be published by Hub City Press in May of this year. Minnow won the “First Novel Prize” from the South Carolina Arts Competition in 2014.

“[My grandfather] was High Sheriff of Beaufort County for thirty-seven years,” James says, “and also worked as a local witchdoctor. His forays into the strange world of voodoo were an inspiration for me as I tried to capture the weird and spooky atmosphere of the Lowcountry on the page.” PROFILE -james - mcteer

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk calls Minnow  “A gorgeous fever-dream of a novel. McTeer’s story of a young boy’s quest achieves a narrative drive and depth that are rare in any novel, much less a debut effort. Minnow picked me up by the scruff of the neck and carried me along as powerfully as a novel by Pat Conroy or Toni Morrison.”

James works as a school librarian at Polo Road Elementary School in Columbia. He ventured into teaching while completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. He then went on to receive his Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

According to James, “My first job was as a substitute teacher, and I loved it right away. I was working on an English degree when I started subbing, and that degree became a great foundation for me as a writer. After that, I wanted to pursue a degree that would give me an avenue into teaching, which was such a fulfilling line of work for me as a substitute. I loved books, reading and writing, so I decided to become a school librarian.” PROFILE - BOOK Minnow

“I grew up reading,” he says. “We read as a family when I was a child. As soon as I could read on my own I never stopped. Writing was a natural extension for me. I wanted to create the same sort of stories I was reading—the same sort of stories that engaged and excited me. So at night, I write stories. During the day, I live and work among the books, telling stories, teaching my students, bringing the world of literature to them.”

James believes in working hard, both as a writer and as an educator and has ready praise for both his dedicated co-workers and his publisher.

“The educators I work with are heroes,” James says. “Educators are hard workers, and the work they do is hard, but the ultimate reward is being there for the kids, unconditionally. On the publishing front, I have the best support a writer could want in Hub City Press. They have guided me through the entire process. I’ve been given so many opportunities, so many chances to reach out to my audience, all because of the folks at Hub City.”

James says his life as a school librarian and a writer is full of surprises. “I don’t think I’ve worked a day and not had at least one genuine laugh or smile because of a student. The same thing happens when you sit down at the page. It’s not always a smile, but you’ll get something, no matter what. You may find excitement, or satisfaction, or happiness. You might find frustration. But you never know what the page will bring.”

While the world waits for the debut of “Minnow,” James finds happiness and satisfaction with his work and his writing.  How can he not when Publishers Weekly calls Minnow “… a memorable coming-of-age story brimming with unexpected encounters with man, beast, and nature, and some magic thrown in for good measure.”

For more information on James, go to

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Dawn Faivre: Lime Lite Salon owner believes in working hard and love what you do

In high school and college, Lime Lite Salon owner Dawn Faivre was frequently asked by friends to style their hair for special events. “I would often forget to allow time for myself because I enjoyed helping them get ready,” Dawn says. “This is when I knew cosmetology was my passion and decided to pursue it as a career.”PROFILE - DAWN LEFEVRE 2

In 2001, the Greensboro, North Carolina native attended Trident Community College and received her cosmetology license. Since then, she’s been on a path to improve each client’s day.

According to Dawn, running a salon is about “having a not so happy-go-lucky client transform into laughter and smiles or supporting someone through a hard time by just being there to listen.  It’s not just creating great hair, it’s also about the bonds and trust that are built.”

Of course, as owner of Lime Lite Salon, Dawn is also responsible for banking, payroll, orders, day-to-day management, coordinating in-salon education and overseeing all operations in addition to her favorite part of the job – being a full time “behind the chair” stylist.

Although Dawn recently celebrated Lime Lite Salon’s sixth anniversary, she opened the salon with David Watson in 2009.

Dawn, John, Caroline and Thomas Faivre

Dawn, John, Caroline and Thomas Faivre

“The process was scary, but so exciting. We started with four stylists. This past July, I went from co-owner to sole owner of Lime Lite Salon. Over the years we’ve been so grateful to receive the Readers Choice Salon award four times. Lime Lite was also recently featured in a full-page write up in American Salon magazine.  I plan to continue strong community involvement and providing the best service possible. I don’t believe things like this happen without the best stylists and customers a business could have. I am more than grateful and proud of the salon’s success.”

Dawn says that she learns something new every day, from what she calls “hair prickles” – confessions of what someone used as a styling product in a pinch – to details about wonderful trips around the world and a wealth of information people are willing to share.
Lime Lite Salon has supported many local charities and organizations including The Festival of Trees and Dragon Boat Race Day. They also offer free haircuts to anyone who is donating her or his hair.

Dawn’s family includes her husband John, daughter Caroline, who’s in fifth grade at Coosa Elementary School, and Thomas, a first grader at Riverview Charter School.

“We recently added seven members to our family,” Dawn says slyly. “Our seven hens are very happy in their hen house that John built.  At first we didn’t know what we would do with the eggs, but now that’s not a problem at all.”

A snow skier since she was 10, Dawn looks forward to an annual ski trip with her sister. Since snow is in short supply in the Lowcountry, Dawn says her second love is paddle boarding. But it’s obvious that Lime Lite Salon is very close to her heart.

“Lime Lite’s staff is my second family,” she says. “Without this talented group the salon would not be what it is today. Looking back, I had no idea how rewarding being a hairstylist could be.”

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Laura Roddey started down the philanthropy path very early

It’s not many 11-year olds who spend their summer raising money for a favorite charity, but that’s exactly what Beaufort native and Wofford College sophomore Laura Roddey did when she was 11. In the summer of 2006, Laura began selling t-shirts to support Little Red Dog Foundation, which her neighbor, Anne Guthrie, started in 2005. Handling promotion, sales, collections and delivery herself, Laura raised about $700 for Little Red Dog, which provides specially equipped three-wheeled cycles for people who are mobility challenged.

Laura Roddey and her brother, Thomas

Laura Roddey and her brother, Thomas

Fast forward to Christmas 2011. Laura and her brother Thomas, 17, who’s now a junior at Beaufort Academy, made a meat rub to give to family and friends as holiday gifts. The rub proved very popular and Laura and Thomas hatched a plan to sell the rub through a new company – Sea Island Seasonings – and donate 100 percent of net profits to charity. With help from parents Tim and Emma, Sea Island Seasonings was soon up and running.

“With Sea Island Seasonings, Thomas and I have provided financial assistance for some of our favorite charities that have helped so many people near and far,” Laura says. “We’ve come to realize that nothing makes our efforts more worthwhile than seeing the smiles of people we get to help. Whether we’re under the same roof or 200 miles away, Thomas and I stick together to help change the lives of those we’ve never met.”

Laura is chief executive officer of Sea Island Seasonings and Thomas is production manager. While she’s at college, Laura handles web design and public relations while Thomas is in charge of production. Both work on sales because, as Laura says, “Sales is a constant job!”

Sea Island Seasonings annually donates to the Little Red Dog Foundation and HELP of Beaufort, and recently donated to the Hope Center for Children in Spartanburg, Prevent Child Abuse America and the Military Heroes Campaign.

“Sea Island Seasonings has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet some incredible people from all around this country and Canada,” says Laura. “The reactions of pleased costumers are incredible and surprising.”

Sea Island Seasonings was recently chosen as one of ten student-run companies to go to the finals of Wolford College’s Impact & Launch Competition. Laura and the other finalists will compete in a head-to-head competition at the end of March for a share of $10,000 in cash and $10,000 worth of professional services.

Asked about the future, the not-yet-20-year old says, “As far as what the future holds, that is a loaded question! I plan on graduating from Wofford College in 2017, and from there I just can’t tell you where I will be. I love Sea Island Seasonings and hope that it will continue to grow. But five years ago I would not have been able to tell you I would be a sophomore in college competing for $10,000 in cash and prizes for a business that, five years ago, didn’t even exist! So for now I’m enjoying the ride.”  Interested?  Check out their website at:

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An insurance agent who is a really good neighbor: Amy Bowman

For Amy Bowman, time seems to fly. The Jacksonville, Florida native moved here in 1996 to start the State Farm Insurance Agency which means, since she has been in business here for almost 20 years, she’s now has clients she’s known since they were babies.

Starting as a claim adjuster, Amy has worked with State Farm for most of her career. “Our mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and have our clients realize their dreams,” Bowman says. “Insurance is not a tangible product and can be difficult to understand. Working with clients throughout their lives, helping them tailor their insurance and financial services needs as their families grow or they near retirement, is gratifying to me.”

Bowman goes on to say there is never a dull day at her agency. Aside from handling the duties of the agency, she and her staff have been known to rescue stray pets along Ribaut Road, jumpstart disabled vehicles, and give driving directions to Parris Island for families coming to see their sons and daughters graduate from boot camp.

“Being a part of the lives of so many wonderful people for so long has been a pleasant surprise for me,” says Bowman.  “Having been affiliated with State Farm in operations, claims, and then running the local agency, I can truly say that I am proud to be a part of this organization.  The customer focus and integrity that State Farm offers, in my opinion, is unparalleled in the industry.  I have an amazing staff which is like an extension of my own family.  We all work as a team to take care of our clients.”

Amy and her husband Craig have four children: Monica, a senior at USC Columbia; Savannah, a sophomore at Clemson; and sons CJ and Lance, who both attend Holy Trinity Classical Christian School.

Amy believes in giving back to the community she loves.  Military and veteran organizations such as the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project are near and dear to her heart as much of her family was, or is, in the military. She also loves the Lowcountry so The Nemours Foundation and the Lowcountry Institute are also important to her.

When asked about future plans, Amy is looking forward to more of her present. Besides continuing her rewarding career as a State Farm agent, She, Craig and her whole family is embarking on a new adventure to cultivate a ten acre orchard on their property in Hampton. “I am looking to add “orchardist” to my many qualifications!”

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Andy Corriveau: Dedicated to his customers and community

Andy Corriveau and his wife, Nancy

Andy Corriveau and his wife, Nancy

It’s not every day that you meet someone who was directly affected by John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. Not that Andy Corriveau, president of Corriveau Insurance Agency, Inc., ever met either iconic leader. But his career Navy father was deployed to Guantanamo, Cuba, twice and during the second deployment, Andy and his family were evacuated as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Andy’s life following evacuation from Cuba has been much calmer. He’s nearing his 50th year of working with State Farm Insurance Companies, starting with the company before he graduated from high school.

According to Andy, “I came home from school one day and my father said to me, ‘A lady from State Farm called and wanted to know if you would like a part time job after school and I told her you would be there tomorrow at 2 pm!’ I started working after school and after graduation they made me one of the best employment offers so I stayed with them.”

State Farm moved Andy to Beaufort in 1973 as a claim representative. In 1981 he was appointed as an agent and he has been selling and servicing insurance and financial products since then. Andy also employs State Farm team members to better meet client obligations.

Andy has a bachelor of science in Economics and has completed many years of training sponsored by State Farm, including the prescribed studies by the Insurance Institute of
America. Andy also completed the course of studies by the American College and was awarded the Chartered Life Underwriter designation.

“I wasn’t a great student in school but somehow I developed a knack for Economics and all of the complicated relationships involved in our economy including Insurance,” says Andy. “I was fortunate to have held many positions in operations, but I really enjoyed helping people solve issues involving risk management. So here I am.”

Andy says his competitive nature has driven him to race any other sailboat he sees on the water and he enjoys participating in one design races and off shore races. He was even invited to compete in a National Regatta at Long Beach, Ca.

“But as I got older, fatter and slower,” he says, “I eased into cruising the waterways from the New England coast all the way down to the Bahamas.”

Three of Andy’s four children – Andy Jr., Jennifer and Matt – attended Beaufort County schools. Jennifer and Matt graduated from Hilton Head High School and Andy Jr. from Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida. Patrick graduated from high school in St. Simmons, Georgia. He says the family is a Clemson family with ties to Georgia Southern and University of Georgia.

As busy with community efforts as he is professionally, Andy was a member of the school improvement councils for Lady’s Island Middle School and Hilton Head High School. He has also served as a Boy Scout leader, member of the Rape Crisis Center board, board member and Fleet Captain of the South Carolina Yacht Club, past Commander of the Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron, member of the Beaufort Little Theater board, United Way fundraising chair for business donations, past president of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association, past president of the Windmill Harbour Homeowners Association, past chair of the Port Royal Design and Review Board and current chair of the Beaufort County Construction and Appeal Board.

Andy has recently moved operations to a new location and says that Corriveau insurance Agency is here to stay.

“The products and services provided by the insurance industry are a moving target and keeping current is key to meeting the changing needs of our clients,” Andy says. “We are driven by the needs of our clients. We do not feel we have met our responsibility to our clients unless we have thoughtful conversations about the risk they face and the options that are available to them. No hard sell here, just a desire to help our clients make informed decisions.”

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NAMI: Offering the Beaufort community access to needed programs and education about mental illness

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

There are fifteen beds on the mental health floor at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. During any given week, the floor is full with no prejudice given to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, active duty or veteran status. Group sessions hold an audience that defines the word “diverse,” which accentuates the fact that mental illness affects everyone.

Volunteer Laurie Shay

Volunteer Laurie Shay

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, which includes major depression, major anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

We are fortunate to have the 2012 National NAMI affiliate of the year right here in Beaufort County, and they are champions at advocating for access to services, treatment, support and research as well as raise awareness to build a community for hope for all those in need.

The local NAMI chapter provides programs of support for people with mental illness and their families, always without charge. Additionally, NAMI provides one-on-one support for anyone in crisis, referrals to community resources including crisis and long-term counseling and apartments in Hilton Head and Beaufort. One of these programs is NAMI’s evidence based Family-to-Family Education Program beginning Saturday, January 10th. Family-to-Family is a free 12-session education program for family caregivers of adults living with mental illness. It will be held Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. until 12 Noon at Harrington Place, 1211 Harrington Street in Beaufort. The course provides a broad perspective that will help parents, spouses, siblings and adult children better understand and support loved ones living with  mental illness.

Laurie Shay has volunteered for NAMI since the winter of 2013.  She is a facilitator for two support groups, called Connections, a mentor for the Peer-to-Peer program and a speaker for the In Our Own Voice presentation.  She recently joined the Board of the local affiliation.

“I chose to volunteer for NAMI because I believe in their cause.  Educating people about mental illness is key to the recovery of the mentally ill.  Without a proper support system including, but not limited to caregivers, doctors, therapists, teachers, and clergy, recovery is hopeless.  NAMI ‘s programs help to facilitate the development of the network necessary for the mentally ill to reach and maintain stability in their daily living,” explains Shay.

Shay has suffered with mental illness since she was a teenager. She is now 53.  Her diagnosis is Bipolar Type 2. Although her treatment has been sporadic, through years of perseverance, ongoing counseling and medication, she has obtained stability in her life.

“Traversing the mental health system wasn’t easy, but worth the effort,” says Shay.

“Finding the services necessary for treatment of the mentally ill individual can be a taunting task. It takes a core group of people to overcome the obstacles. Finding a good doctor and therapist, and educating the mentally ill individual along with their caregivers is paramount to treatment.  This process can be expensive, frustrating, and demeaning because of the pervasive stigma toward mental illness, but with persistence, recovery is possible,” she adds.

NAMI has become the nation’s voice on mental illness with NAMI organizations in every state and in over 1,100 local communities across the country who join together to meet the NAMI mission.

“Treatment of mental illness as a disease and not some curse or fictitious ailment requires us to remove the fear around mental illness through educating people.  That is what NAMI is all about,” explains Shay.

For more information or to register for the Family-to-Family Education Program, please contact Sarah Eliasoph, Executive Director, at or by calling (843) 681-2200. For more information about NAMI’s mission and programs, please visit

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Rhett House Inn’s chef, Beverly Mayo, recognized by national magazine

By Lanier Laney

The editors of National Geographic Traveler magazine have lauded Penn Center and Beaufort’s Gullah culture with a spotlight on the Rhett House Inn as one of the ‘Top 20 Best Trips’ in the world to make in 2015. The Rhett House Inn’s Gullah chef Beverly Mayo’s breakfast is detailed in the article online.  Chef Beverly says writers of the magazine found her through rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

“I was shocked and thrilled. It’s an honor to be in there because that’s a nationwide magazine, and a lot of people read that magazine,” Mayo said.

Mayo is well known for her Southern breakfast and famous grits, for which preparation begins the night before.

The Rhett House Inn’s Chef Beverly Mayo with her famous sweet potato pancakes.

The Rhett House Inn’s Chef Beverly Mayo with her famous sweet potato pancakes.

“To us, food is love…you put your love, heart, and soul in it, and that’s what makes the difference; the ingredients follow,” says Chef Beverly who grew up in the local Gullah tradition cooking with her mother and grandmother in Sheldon. She remembers her grandmother making sweet grass baskets by the stove while also turning bread or churning butter.

“At Christmas, we would all cook and give each other presents of beautifully presented food and Christmas cookies,”she adds.

About working at the Rhett House, Chef Beverly says, “The Rhett House has a wonderful spirit, and our guests are our first priority. That’s why I love it so.”

She’s had guests from all over the world tell her ‘they’ve never tasted grits like hers before.’ Her secret? She uses chicken stock instead of plain water with cream and butter and adds Gullah seasoning at the very end. The recipe is online at For Christmas this year she made cinnamon pancakes in addition to her renowned sweet potato recipe. The complimentary breakfast comes with a nightly stay at the Inn.

The historic Rhett House Inn, built in 1820 is celebrating its 150th anniversary as an Inn in 2015 and has been a AAA Four Diamond Inn for the past 19 years.

Rhett House Inn owners Marianne and Steve Harrison are justly proud of Chef Beverly and the Inn being singled out by a national magazine online. “I am so glad that National Geographic Traveler recognized the wonderful African-American Gullah history and its rich ongoing culture we have in this area; it’s what makes it so special and unique to live and visit here. I also thank them for their kind words about The Rhett House Inn and Chef Beverly’s breakfast. Our staff works very hard to give all our guests the best Southern Hospitality experience possible,” says Marianne.

For more information, please call The Rhett House Inn at 524-9030 or visit 1009 Craven St. in the historic district.

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A Rewarding Ride: Little Red Dog Foundation President Deb Libaire keeps focused on helping others

Although Deb Libaire, president and operations manager of Little Red Dog Foundation, says she likes the direct nature of her organization (“It does one thing and does it well.”), Deb herself wears many hats at LDRF. In her more than four years with LDRF she’s handled clerical responsibilities, grant writing and fundraising in addition to her leadership duties.

“I work with therapists, teachers, parents and caregivers on applications for specialized trikes,” says Deb. “I order the trikes after the recipient is assessed and measured and coordinate with the Beaufort Kiwanis Club volunteers who assemble them for us. Then we deliver them either to the therapist to fit the recipient or the school or directly to the new owner.”

Deb Libaire, left, and her husband Jack, with their three sons and their families. Deb is president of the Little Red Dog Foundation in Beaufort.

Deb Libaire, left, and her husband Jack, with their three sons and their families. Deb is president of the Little Red Dog Foundation in Beaufort.

Although it might seem that she’s a one-woman show, Deb is quick to praise LDRF volunteers.

“The Beaufort Kiwanis Club has a group of about 10 to 15 volunteers who put together more than 50 cycles each year. Some are very complicated and all are customized so it can be very time consuming, but they never say no,” she says. “Our treasurer, Nancy Hansen, handles all the finances, tax filings, bill paying, etc.; and our presidents emeriti, Anne Guthrie and Harriett Hilton, are always available for advice and input.”

Deb is also grateful to the many Lowcountry private donors and foundations that help raise the funds for the cycles.

“We have never said no to a qualified applicant to date and 100 percent of donations go to purchasing cycles.”

The Little Red Dog Foundation was started with a mission to create mobility and independence for the disabled. The organization provides specially equipped three-wheeled cycles for people who are mobility challenged. Use of the cycles can improve circulation, increase body strength, expand range of motion and improve endurance, all of which can lead to increased self-esteem and feelings of independence and accomplishment.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing and hearing about the results of people using these trikes,” says Deb. “It affects their physical health and mental health. For example, children who are mobility impaired don’t have to be sidelined during gym. They can ride cycles, indoors or out, with or without assistance, depending on their limitations. Adults who are mobility impaired are able to regain some active freedom.”

Following an accident last summer when Deb was unable to walk for a few months, she had firsthand experience of the many issues that people who are mobility challenged face every minute of every day.

“It also reminded me of the enormous effort involved in caring for anyone with these limitations,” she says. “I hope that what LDRF does for children and adults who are mobility impaired also helps their caregivers.”

Born on Long Island, New York, Deb worked as an interior designer for more than 30 years in New York while also collecting and selling vintage costume jewelry. Her experience serving on Long Island boards for Planned Parenthood, Suffolk Hearing and Speech Center and The Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area prepared Deb for her work with LDRF.

Deb and Jack, her husband of 44 years, started dating right after college. Jack is a sales agent for Wise Batten Inc. in Estill, SC. The couple moved to Beaufort eight years ago from New York.

“We love the Lowcountry,” Deb says. “It feels like the old Long Island where we grew up on the water hunting, fishing and sailing. We also enjoy being around so many people with similar interests.”

They are parents to three grown children — Jardine Libaire, 41, lives in Austin, Texas, and is an author and works in public relations; Julien Libaire, 38, lives in Charleston, SC, and is an international stock trader; and Jake Libaire, 36, and wife Erin live in Charleston. Jake is a Development Manager and Erin teaches at Ashley Hall.

Deb’s future goals are as focused as she says LDRF is. She wants to continue to meet the needs of children and adults in the Lowcountry who have mobility challenges.

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It’s not easy being Greene: For Beaufort native Stephanie Greene, it’s hard not to step out and get involved

Stephanie Greene spends her work days with 55 grandparents. She is the Business Office Manager and Community Marketer for River Oaks Assisted Living, and she says she and the rest of the staff members “are a family with 55 grandparents.”

At River Oaks, Stephanie says she does a little bit of everything. “I market our facility throughout the community and I take care of all the business office needs such as payroll, insurance, and human resources-related issues. I also oversee activities and social programs that enable our residents to be part of the greater community.”

Stephanie Greene is seen at the seawall in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Stephanie Greene is seen at the seawall in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Except for the time spent in Columbia attending the University of South Carolina, Stephanie has lived her entire life in Beaufort. Her father, Robert “Bobby” Greene, is a loan officer at Palmetto Finance on Lady’s Island and her mother, Patsye Greene, is the Register of Deeds for Jasper County.

Stephanie says that after college she wanted a career that would allow her to make a difference in people’s lives. Her passion for the elderly and love of the Beaufort community were also elements that made the position at River Oaks a good fit for her.

“I never know if I am going to be the last smile someone sees or the last laugh they hear or the last person to tell them good morning or I love you. I come to work every day knowing I can make someone’s day better,” she says.

Even though she refers to River Oaks residents as her grandparents, Stephanie says she didn’t expect to get so attached to them and their families.

“I love the fact that I am able to maintain a personal relationship with all of them. No one day is ever the same. It is surprising how much fun Bingo can be at 3:00 in the afternoon with a room full of seniors. One of my favorite times of the day is listening to them reminisce over a bottle of wine at happy hour. The life lessons I learn from their experiences are amazing.”

Stephanie’s philosophy behind not only her work, but also every activity and challenge she faces is Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And her activities and challenges are quite impressive. Although she has a fear of heights and bridges, she bungee jumped and ran the Cooper River Bridge and the Savannah Bridge. She’s also an avid runner, completing three half marathons in the past year and training for a full marathon.

Stephanie is an ambassador for the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.  She is a member of the Sea Island Rotary, where she serves as the Social Chair. She is one of the redefining founders of the Lowcountry Jaycees and serves as the marketing and membership coordinator for the organization. She is a member of the Leadership Beaufort class of 2015 and she is a member of the Beaufort Republican Women’s Club.  She is also a member of the sponsorship staff for the 60th Beaufort Water Festival and she is an activist for Alzheimer’s Family Services of Greater Beaufort.  She attends Cornerstone Christian Church where she is a member of the prayer team.

She recently was awarded the 2014-2015 Lowcountry Young Professional of the Year Civitis award.  In September, she received the Rookie of the Year award for the Sea Island Rotary Club.

One of her most recent accomplishments is becoming the president of the University of South Carolina Alumni group for Beaufort County.

Stephanie says she plans to continue to step up and stand out in the community.

“God knew what he was doing when he opened this door at River Oaks for me because after working with so many active seniors and hearing their life stories, I know I want to leave behind a legacy of service above self. More young people need to step up and help bridge the gap between where Beaufort has been and where we want to see Beaufort go.”

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Raising the bar: Jean and Harvey McCormick know about the law, and love

By Pamela Brownstein

On a beautiful Beaufort evening in early October, a crowd of family and friends gathered on Lady’s Island at the lovely home of Jean and Harvey McCormick. A live band played on the deck as guests danced and laughed, enjoying the company and the slight breeze off the waterway beyond.

Jean and Harvey McCormick

Jean and Harvey McCormick

When the band paused between songs, Harvey got on the microphone and gave a toast to his wife, Jean, of 25 years in celebration of her 50th birthday. He told a sweet story about her and how much she means to him, and even got a little choked up, before he led the guests in singing “Happy Birthday.” Then he joined the band on the drums during their rocking rendition of “Mustang Sally.”

Harvey said, “We met 26 years ago in Charleston one night that I was out with her brother.  Have been inseparable since. I fell in love with her because she makes me laugh, among other things.”

“I met my husband the summer after my first year of law school when I went home to the Isle of Palms. My brother introduced us and we discovered that during college our fathers lived on the same hall at Clemson and worked as nuclear engineers in the same division at The Charleston Naval Shipyard,” Jean said. “That night Harvey told my brother he was going to marry me. Six months later we were engaged and six months later we were married.”

She said one of the things she loves best about Harvey is his zest for life.

It doesn’t take long to be in the presence of this couple to feel the genuine love and respect that they have for each other. They are friendly and warm and good-natured — traits perhaps that don’t always come to mind when describing members of the legal profession. But Jean is an attorney with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and Harvey is the sole practitioner at McCormick Law Firm.

The two were born and raised in Charleston and both said they knew from an early age that they wanted to be lawyers and to try to help people.

Harvey attended the College of Charleston for his undergraduate, with a double major in Business and Economics, while Jean attended Winthrop College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Public Service. They both graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and came to Beaufort shortly after.

Jean said, “Although from Charleston, I never visited Beaufort until I received a job offer. I accepted the offer. The initial plan was to eventually return to Charleston, but once we moved to Beaufort we never wanted to leave.”

As the sole practitioner at his own private law firm, Harvey is in charge of general litigation practice, primarily personal injury, criminal, worker’s compensation and construction. He is also a certified mediator in civil court.

“I feel that hard work, full communication with our clients and ethical integrity are the three most important traits of an attorney,” Harvey explains.

Jean has worked as a public defender and also as the general attorney with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah. She worked alongside her husband at the McCormick Law Firm from 1998 to 2006 before joining the Office of the Solicitor, 14th Judicial Circuit, and the team behind Duffie Stone in 2007. She is currently an assistant solicitor and the Minister of Justice who is in charge of the Beaufort County Juvenile Division.

“I advocate for the safety of the citizens of Beaufort County while insuring that individuals charged with criminal offenses are accorded procedural justice,” said Jean, describing her job. “I prosecute cases by trial or plea, handle appeals and juvenile matters.”

“I work with very dedicated people who have an extremely difficult and stressful job,” she said.

Although practicing law can be hectic and involve long hours — especially while raising three boys ages 22, 18 and 13 — the McCormicks believe the rewarding aspects of their jobs make all the hard work worth it.

Harvey said it’s important “really just helping people who are unable to help themselves.”

Jean said the most rewarding aspect of her job is “the opportunity to make a decision that has the potential to change the course of one’s life.”

She has received numerous honors throughout her career, and was recognized as one the Top Lawyers of the Lowcountry in 2013.

When it comes to community service, Harvey was a past member on the board of directors for the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of Leadership Beaufort, and a member of Sea Island Rotary for about 20 years. Jean has participated in the Beaufort County Choices Program for the past five years.

As for the future, Jean and Harvey said they plan to continue working in the legal profession while remaining active and trying to make a difference in the community.

Harvey said, “I love the fact that Beaufort is a small and close knit community.  I like walking down the street and knowing almost everyone that we pass.”

“To name a few of the many things I like best about Beaufort,” adds Jean, “the smell of pluff mud, the history, the beauty, the community looking out for your children, the beach, the river, the farmers market, the excellent restaurants, shops, and seeing a friendly face wherever you go.”

The philosophy behind her work — “to treat all with respect, understanding and compassion” — shines through in all facets of Jean’s life and explains why the McCormicks serve as such an inspiring example of what makes this community great.

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