• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine


story by Carol Lauvray     photos by Susan DeLoach

Kyleigh Tokar has faced and overcome greater challenges than most people encounter during a lifetime—and she is just 16 years old.

     The Beaufort High School junior beat all odds at the beginning of her life, surviving a massive stroke while in utero and subsequently being born without brain activity, reflexes, vision, hearing or muscular ability. Defying her doctors’ early prognosis, Kyleigh has grown into an active, happy teenager who excels in school and who loves sports like golf and bowling, as well as camping and board games. Her parents, Alana and Joseph Tokar, credit God for Kyleigh’s miraculous recovery as an infant.

     Last June, Joe Tokar started writing a blog about his daughter Kyleigh. His first post on the blog reads: “What can I say about her? She loves the Lord and is amazing, wonderful, happy, vibrant and incredibly caring. She is an incredible young woman that has changed not only my life, but the lives of so many people she has come in contact with. She is quite literally a gift from God…”

Facing Another Challenge

     Joe created the blog to document the latest challenge that Kyleigh is facing—a diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma (a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around bone), a cancer that most often afflicts teens and young adults. The survival rate for localized cases of Ewing sarcoma is about 70 percent; if it spreads to other sites in the body, the survival rate drops to 30 percent.

     Last year, in May, while she was driving, Kyleigh was hit by another car, an event that her dad Joe believes was a gift from God to help the family discover her cancer. As a result of the accident, Kyleigh suffered a minor back injury so she visited a chiropractor. Two weeks later, her back still hurt so her mom Alana asked the chiropractor to look at a bulge on Kyleigh’s rib. The chiropractor advised them to have a doctor see Kyleigh immediately.  So began a flurry of doctor appointments, tests (x-rays, a CT scan and an ultrasound), and a biopsy on the mass on Kyleigh’s rib. On June 14, 2017, the family received the dreaded call from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston with the diagnosis of cancer.

     Kyleigh’s doctor at MUSC wanted to begin her chemotherapy as soon as possible, during the last week of June. On June 26, 2017 Joe posted in the blog saying that Kyleigh had a different plan, “…my wonderful daughter, so confident in Christ, says she wants to go to camp for a week before she starts treatment.” As a result, Monday, July 10, 2017 was rescheduled to be Kyleigh’s first chemotherapy treatment. The week before her treatment began, Kyleigh decided to have her long, flowing tresses cut into a short style so she could donate her hair to Locks of Love.

     Kyleigh’s treatment plan is rigorous: Week 1 she spent two days in the hospital; Week 2 she was an outpatient; Week 3 she stayed in the hospital for 6 days; Week 4 she was at home; then the pattern repeated through Week 14. After a period of time off chemotherapy, on October 20, 2017, Kyleigh had an operation to remove the tumor and all or part of three ribs, but through it all her spirit and determination never waivered. Just the day before her surgery, she played 18 holes of golf in Conway, SC as a member of the Beaufort High School Eagles girls golf team in the Class 4A Lower State championship meet, and the team qualified to go to the State playoffs. After Kyleigh’s operation and four weeks of healing, she resumed her chemotherapy regimen the week before Thanksgiving, beginning another 22 weeks of treatment. Kyleigh’s goal is to complete her treatment before the end of May 2018, so she and her family can take their annual Memorial Day camping trip to Clarks Hill Lake.

     Everyone who has experienced cancer firsthand as a patient or as a caregiver understands the toll that the disease takes, in terms of enduring treatments and side effects, pain, angst and the loss of freedom. Since the time that Kyleigh began her treatment in July 2017, she has experienced side effects including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, pain and swelling in her hands and feet, mouth sores, difficultly walking and focusing her attention, and damage to her heart. An avid golfer and excellent student, Kyleigh has missed participating regularly in sports, attending school, and spending time with friends and family members, to limit her exposure to germs because of her compromised immune system.

     In September, after 2 ½ months of Kyleigh’s treatments, her mom Alana posted on the blog, “…I mourn for the joy my daughter used to have when she was driving with her friends to go to the beach, to school to see her favorite teachers, to run to the grocery store to get something for her mom. I mourn for my daughter when I see her in so much pain because the chemo is causing her hands and feet to swell and blister. I mourn for the loss of my relationship with my husband, friends, co-workers and family members because Kyleigh’s counts are too low to visit with them…” Also in September, her dad Joe posted, “Through all of this Kyleigh doesn’t complain, doesn’t whine, just faces it with strength and the conviction of her faith. At the same time that I want to protect her, and hold her, and make all of this go away, I admire her for her spirit and her character.”

     After nearly seven months in treatment, at the end of January Kyleigh posted on the blog herself announcing great news: “I am CANCER FREE! Just going through consolidation to make sure all the teeny tiny microscopic cells have all been found and KILLED. When first diagnosed with cancer my world broke for just a few seconds and that’s when God gave me the Bible verse that you see on my dad’s blogs, Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’ ” After her treatment concludes this May, Kyleigh will continue to make regular visits to MUSC for checkups for the next five years. If the cancer does not return by the time she reaches the age of 30, she’ll be considered cured.

Looking Forward to Life

     Now Kyleigh and her family are focused on completing her treatment by the end of May in time for their Memorial Day camping trip. Kyleigh is also making longer-range plans for her future. She is on schedule to graduate from Beaufort High School in June 2019 and afterward, she would like to attend Southern Wesleyan University in Central, SC to earn her degree in business. She’s already started her own business from home selling LuLaRoe clothing.

     A few minutes after Kyleigh, Joe and Alana Tokar were interviewed for this article on a sunny, warm Beaufort afternoon in late February, Kyleigh and her dad stood on the first hole at Sanctuary Golf Club on Cat Island, teeing off to play a few holes of golf. Kyleigh Tokar embodies spirit, fortitude and optimism in the face of life-threatening challenges, and she does this with unusual grace. Kyleigh truly believes that her grace to face these challenges is a gift from God.

story by Marie McAden     photos by Paul Nurnberg

Three weeks into his new job as president and CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH), Russell Baxley was settled into his office and eager to start work on several innovative initiatives to improve patient care.

   Mother Nature had other ideas.

   The young hospital administrator was just getting ready to sink his teeth into his burgeoning agenda when Hurricane Matthew began its destructive route up the Southeastern coast.

     At first, the plan was to discharge all patients well enough to go home and shelter in place. But when the forecast model showed the Category 4 storm had shifted direction and was making a beeline for Beaufort with a predicted landfall at high tide, Baxley was faced with the difficult choice of riding out the hurricane or closing the 197-bed nonprofit hospital.

     The most serious potential issue was a 12-foot storm surge flooding the basement and taking out the hospital’s chilling system and boilers. Concerned for the safety of the remaining patients, many of them in serious or critical condition, Baxley decided to evacuate.

     Coordinating with officials from the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control and a multitude of transportation companies, hospital staff began relocating dozens of patients, including two who were on ventilators and needed to be airlifted out. Many of the patients were accompanied to the receiving hospitals by BMH nurses.

     “No one in the hospital had been through a hurricane before,” Baxley said. “It was amazing to watch everyone go into action. In less than 12 hours, we had evacuated 68 patients.”

     And Baxley was right there with them in the trenches.

     “When the storm hit, he slept in the hospital with the emergency staff,” recalled BMH Board of Trustees Chair Terry Murray. “It created a great sense of camaraderie and team work.”

     “Days later, the housekeepers, technicians, doctors and nurses who had been called in to man the hospital during the storm were telling her, “This new guy’s okay.”

     For Baxley, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

     “It was a crash course for me in what our hospital staff could do in the face of extraordinary challenges,” he said. “Working together in a crisis, we got to know each other very quickly.”

     At age 33, Baxley was the youngest of seven highly qualified finalists the BMH Board of Trustees considered to replace outgoing president Rick Toomey, who announced his resignation in early 2016.

     Despite his youth, Baxley had a depth of experience that was unrivaled. He started his career managing a physician practice and advanced through every critical hospital position, including CEO of a similar-size private hospital in Lancaster, PA.

     During his career, he had served as chief operating officer, assistant chief financial officer and director of development in small- and medium-size hospitals in South Carolina and Texas, including Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in Hartsville. He also served as director of operations and finance for a large family medicine practice and medical spa in Columbia.

     “We wanted someone who had vision, but was well grounded,” Murray said. “The more we talked with him, the more we realized he was up for the challenge. Not only could he take us to the next level, he could take us to the level after that.”

     More importantly, he had a deep sense of integrity. “He worked for a for-profit hospital, but he embraced the nonprofit mission,” Murray said. “Integrity was at the heart of it.”

     A graduate of Clemson University with a B.S. in Microbiology, Russell started out with aspirations of becoming a doctor.

     “I always wanted to be in the healthcare field,” he said. “But after four years of undergraduate studies, I decided it wasn’t for me.”

     His mother, the controller for Lake City Community Hospital, encouraged him to get a master’s in hospital administration. He took her advice and earned his graduate degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of South Carolina (USC).

     Growing up in rural Johnsonville, Baxley developed a strong work ethic, nurtured in the fields of his family’s South Carolina farm.

     “My brother, my cousins and I all worked on the farm in the summers and after school, even if we had other jobs or baseball practice,” Baxley recalled. “It was the expectation. The job wasn’t done until it was done.”

     The lessons he learned in his youth—the importance of working together as a team and sharing a commitment to a common cause —have served him well as a hospital administrator.

     Today, that common cause is to provide the community with access to high quality care.

     “We want to expand our footprint, both physically and through technology, to offer our residents health care services where they live, work and play,” Baxley said. “We have to grow, but we need to grow in the right way, making sure we are good stewards of our finances.”

     One of his most ambitious initiatives is the creation of South Carolina’s first micro hospital, being planned in Okatie Crossing to serve Bluffton’s growing population. BMH has partnered with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC Health) to build the acute care facility adjacent to its planned 60,000-70,000-square-foot medical campus at U.S. 278 and S.C. 170. Construction of the 20-bed micro hospital will begin in June with a completion date set for September 2019.

     The micro hospital will include an emergency room, lab and imaging services, In-patient beds and surgical suites.  The hospital will focus on multiple specialties to include general medicine, orthopedics, general surgery, cardiology and more.

     Baxley also shepherded a joint venture with MUSC and Alliance Oncology to relocate and expand the Keyserling Cancer Center to Beaufort Medical Plaza on the main hospital campus. The three-story building already houses an infusion center, imaging services, breast health center and the office of one of Beaufort Memorial’s two medical oncologists.

     By early 2019, the second oncologist, along with radiation oncology services, will be moved to the building from the Keyserling Center.

     “Our vision is to provide cancer patients with everything they need in one place,” Baxley said. “We’ll even have office space for MUSC cancer specialists so patients can see them here rather than have to drive to Charleston.”

     As part of the project, BMH is investing in the latest radiation technology, including a cutting-edge linear accelerator. The hospital also has applied to the state to open a second radiation oncology center in the Okatie Medical Office building to be developed in conjunction with the micro hospital.

     “I always felt that developing an affiliation with MUSC Health was the way to go,” hospital board chair Murray said. “Russell has taken the concept and run with it.”

     Beaufort Memorial’s first partnership with MUSC started in 2014 with stroke and pediatric telemedicine. Under the program, BMH emergency room and intensive care physicians can consult with the tertiary medical center’s stroke and pediatric experts on a moment’s notice 24/7.

     Recognizing the benefits of telemedicine and the increasing role it will play in the future of health care, Baxley tapped the technology to create BMH Care Anywhere. With the online service, patients can “see” a board-certified urgent care provider anytime, anywhere using their smart phone, tablet or computer.

     “Our focus is on improving access to health care,” Baxley said. “We’re doing that by extending hours, expanding into other markets and employing telemedicine in the care of patients.”

     With the nationwide shortage of physicians, Baxley expects virtual visits will become increasingly common, especially for primary care.

     “Not only does it provide patients with faster access to care,” he said, “it allows us to reach residents in rural areas where there are few doctors.”

     In addition to the telemedicine initiatives, Baxley also pushed forward the launch of an online self-scheduling service for nonlife-threatening emergency department visits, cutting down the time patients spend in the ER waiting room. To speed up treatment to patients suffering minor ailments and injuries, the hospital recently opened an express care clinic at 974 Ribaut Rd.

     “Russell developed a very ambitious, highly detailed strategic plan when he came to the hospital in 2016,” Murray said, “and he and his team are accomplishing everything we set out to do.”

     The hospital executive’s “all-in” approach isn’t reserved just for the workplace. He is equally passionate in his personal life.

     A strong proponent of healthy living, he exercises daily, either working out at the gym or running three to 10 miles. He has raced in several half marathons and is currently preparing for The Palmetto 200, a 200-mile team running event from Columbia to Charleston.

     And lest there be any doubt, he is a Tiger through and through. His allegiance to Clemson has created some friendly dustups with his wife, Stephanie, a graduate of the University of Georgia.

     Several weekends during football season, the couple will make it up to Clemson or Athens to root for their respective alma maters. But on three out of the four road trips, they’re wearing orange and heading to Death Valley.

     “She gets the say most times,” Baxley quipped, “but that’s the one argument I always win.”

story by Sissy Perryman

One of the highlights of the spring in Beaufort, is the Beaufort Twilight Run (BTR), which is celebrating a decade of racing at this year’s event presented by Habersham Properties on Saturday, March 24 in Beaufort’s beautiful Habersham Marketplace.

     The 10th Annual BTR is proud to host two-time Olympian Ryan Hall. Hall will be coming for the entire weekend to serve as the keynote speaker at a pre-race event on Friday and then run alongside aspiring young runners in the 1-Mile Youth Run on Saturday. Everyone who registers for a BTR event will have a chance to meet, get an autograph, and take a photo with Hall, one of America’s greatest distance runners.

     “Hall has a huge following from all over the country – many who will travel long distances for a chance to hear him speak and meet him in person,” said BTR Race Director Lauren Kelly. “His story and journey are incredibly inspiring and we are so honored he chose to come to the BTR.”

     Known also as “The Lowcountry’s Best Running Festival,” the BTR expects more than 2,600 participants and spectators from across 20 states this year. This family-friendly event is a draw not only for participants in the six races, but for spectators who are looking for an evening with live music and great food. This year the BTR welcomes back the band Broke Locals, who specialize in “Southern Fried Funk.” Throughout the afternoon and evening, everyone can enjoy a variety of delicious food and drinks from gourmet food trucks and the Habersham Marketplace restaurants.

     For online details about race registration and more visit www.BeaufortTwilightRun.com.  Early registration discounts are available for all participants, as well as additional discounts for students, groups of ten or more and active duty military.

     The BTR’s mission is to host a fun, competitive and memorable annual event for Beaufort to benefit Riverview Charter School – a free public school open to Beaufort County K-8th grade students.

Top 10 Reasons To Attend the 

2018 Beaufort Twilight Run

#10. Top Notch Event.  These people really know how to put on an event! With more than 200 volunteers and 50+ sponsors – this running festival is a fabulous experience for both recreational walkers/runners as well as competitive athletes.

#9. Family-Friendly.  This event is made for families. Between the kid’s zone, fun run and fun walk – this race is a safe and fun way to spend the evening with your family.  You won’t want to miss watching those little kids run their hearts out, dance in the streets with the live band, and cheer on their parents from the sidelines.

#8. Breathtaking Running Course. What better place to run or take an evening stroll – then through the paved streets of Habersham?  Ranked one of the “Top 20 Best Places to Live on the Coast” by Coastal Living Magazine, this neighborhood is one of the most beautiful running courses.  All race courses are spectator-friendly and flat, offering beautiful marsh views while racing beneath canopies of live oaks.

#7. USATF Sanctioned.  This means the BTR is committed to follow national and international rules and regulations to provide a safe environment for the participants and spectators. In general, a sanction is required for a record to be set – which there have been a few attempts on the course!

#6. Accurate Timing.  For competitive runners, nothing is more important than to ensure an accurate time. The RMS Team Leader, Danny White, has been awarded the position of the USATF/RRTC National Certifier for the USA & South Carolina Regional Certifier – an elite group of individuals who strive to make this sport the best.  The BTR is honored to have him time the run year after year.

#5. After Race Party.  Live music, amazing expo space and a stunning sunset, you’ll never want to leave!  The party continues long into the night as runners get a chance to sit in the grass with a cold drink, relax and enjoy the moment after a hard day’s work.

#4. Food.  From oysters to food trucks to local sit-down restaurants right in the heart of the event – there is something for everyone!

#3. Fitness.  With 6 events to choose from, there’s sure to be a fitness event for you. The BTR offers events for runners and walkers at all levels including a signature 13.1 Mile Beaufort Challenge (10 Mile + 5K Runs), 10 Mile Run, 8K Run, 5K Run/Walk, 1 Mile Youth Run, and Kids’ Fun Run.

#2. Fun.  Whether you’re a runner, walker, volunteer or spectator, it’s hard to walk away from the night without a smile on your face.

#1. One Great Cause.  The BTR is the largest fundraiser for Riverview Charter School – a free public school open to Beaufort County K-8th grade students. It is all made possible because of runners and walkers like you!

REGISTER TODAY @ BeaufortTwilightRun.com

Group and Military Discounts Available

story by Cindy Reid

Back by popular demand, the second annual Film and Digital Media Symposium will be held at USCB’s Center for the Arts (CFA), in conjunction and partnership with the Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF) on Saturday February 24. The symposium is lead by Topher Maraffi, Assistant Professor of Media Arts at USCB. In addition to teaching digital media, animation, broadcast and game design classes at USCB, Topher Maraffi is an animation judge for the Beaufort International Film Festival. “The symposium is a logical extension to build up the partnership between BIFF and USCB. This event is a natural progression and could grow over time. We can continue to make it a little better every year,” he says, “This year’s event should be really fun and it is very exciting to have Mark Kirkland as our keynote speaker.”

     The symposium’s featured Key Note Speaker is Mark Kirkland. Mark Kirkland is a fine artist and a three-time Emmy award-winning director The Simpsons, and an award-winning filmmaker, writer/director. He studied drawing, animation, and filmmaking and received a BFA degree from The California Institute of The Arts. Kirkland is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and a former Governor for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Kirkland‘s short documentary film, Bud’s Odyssey, is an official selection for the BIFF.

Symposium Schedule of Events

11AM | Lightning Round Talks | Ten-minute presentations by USCB faculty and film & media professionals in the Lowcountry

Noon | Break for lunch with speakers (catered lunch  provided to attendees)

1PM | Keynote Speaker | “A visit with Mark Kirkland, Filmmaker & Director for the Simpsons”.

2PM | BIFF Director’s Panel | Q & A with three award-winning directors

     Film maker VW Scheich, Interwoven, Wallenda, returning for a second year, will be on hand for the Lightning Round Talk, discussing his current film project Carpe Vegan. Symposium organizer, Maraffi, will be speaking about the documentary he is making about swing dancing from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, and its roots in the Beaufort, South Carolina Gullah culture.

     The Directors Panel will include award winning filmmakers John Schwab, The Hide, The Applicant, Felix Martiz, Santiago, Mia and Amanda Renee Knox, Rajam, Night Call.

Open to All

     Anyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge and a film festival pass is not needed. Lunch will be provided free of charge and coffee will be served in the afternoon. Maraffi says “There is a wide range of people interested in film making in general and in the film festival. People are curious and as we continue to build on this, we want to include as many people as possible and let them know what is going on here in the film making and digital world.”

Screenings of Participants Films

     Bud’s Odyssey (26min) (USA) Burbank, CA (SC Premiere) Director:  Mark Kirkland. Synopsis: The epic WWII survival story of 1st Lt Robert “Bud” Kingsbury. Screens: Feb 23, Friday, 2:30pm

     Night Call (18min) (Dodge) Los Angeles, CA (SC Premiere) Director: Amanda Renee Knox. Synopsis:  When on a routine patrol, a Black female cop living in and patrolling Inglewood gets called to a disturbance she is forced to make an unprecedented life altering decision. Screens: Feb 22, Thursday, 1:10pm

     In conjunction with the symposium is the Sea Island Center Gallery Reception on Friday February 23 from 5-7 PM. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.

What When & Where

     Film & Digital Media Symposium – The event is open to the public and is free of charge.

     Saturday February 24, 11:00am-3:00pm

     USCB Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St Beaufort, SC, Classroom 101 – Room capacity is limited and seats will be available on a ‘first come’ basis. There is an interactive simulcast at Library 243, USCB Bluffton campus.

     For further information: www.uscb.edu/events/2018-film-and-digital-media-symposium

story by Emily Burgess     photos provided by Eat Sleep Play Beaufort

The season for great food and time spent outside is on its way and the lowcountry is kicking it off with the ninth annual Bands, Brews and BBQ event on Paris Avenue in Port Royal benefitting Friends of Caroline Hospice.

     The two-day event sponsored by Beaufort Memorial hospital and hosted by the Town of Port Royal will be held February 23-24 and kicks off the barbeque event trail in South Carolina through the South Carolina BBQ Association. Admission costs $10 per day with children under 12 attending for free. There will be tickets available for purchasing food, drinks and kid zone activities once inside the event.

     The fun begins Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. with the wing throw down where samples of wings from over 30 cook teams will be offered along with live entertainment from the Walker Harris Band. The wings are judged at The Shed by a group of VIPs that includes the mayor of Port Royal, and awards for first, second and third place are given.

     The event continues on Saturday starting at noon until 4 p.m. with the barbeque cook-off. Approximately 32 teams will enter barbeque that will be judged by certified judges from the South Carolina BBQ Association. Participants come from all over the Southeast each year to try their hand at taking first, second or third place.

     “It’s Brews, Bands and BBQ a qualifying event for The World Food competition. The overall winner gets invited to Orange Beach, Alabama to compete. It is very cool,” said Lindsay Roberg, Executive Director of Friends of Caroline Hospice, the organization behind the event each year.

     The entertainment line-up for Saturday includes Broke Locals, The Brewer Band, Frogmore Stu and Chris Jones. Beer, wine, other drinks and hot dogs will also be available for purchase.

     The kid zone is $5 per child with bounce houses and face painting available. The kid’s area is contained with volunteers stationed to control any chaos, allowing parents the opportunity to drop their older children off while they enjoy the event by sampling barbeque and listening to music.

     Bands, Brews and BBQ started off small nine years ago, but has shown steady growth each year. Last year, more than 1,500 people attended the event and it is expected that even more will take part this year.

     All proceeds from the event benefit Friends of Caroline Hospice (FOCH) in Port Royal. The non-profit organization has been serving Beaufort county for 37 years, providing quality-of-life care that offers hope and encouragement to those nearing the end of life’s journey while also providing support for their family, friends and the community.

     Friends of Caroline Hospice provides hospice care for patients of any age, religion, race or illness. FOCH works with a patient’s primary caregiver (typically a family member) by making regular visits to assess the patient and provide any additional care or services that are needed.

     The funds from the event help cover palliative care and bereavement services and cover services for under-insured or un-insured patients.

     “It’s important for us to raise funds so everyone has the same supreme level of care at the end of their life,” said Roberg.

     FOCH offers bereavement and coping support groups that meet monthly to allow those who have lost loved ones to share thoughts and feelings with others who have experienced the same. They also host Camp Caroline each year, partnering with the school system for students in first through twelfth grades. It provides a safe environment for students who have lost a loved one and allows them the opportunity to learn to acknowledge and express their grief.  Camp Caroline will be held June 25th this year from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the maritime center in partnership with the Port Royal Sound Foundation. This is exciting, as it will allow for more water activities for the kids.

     FOCH has an extensive list of complementary services or therapies that work together with conventional medicine. They partner with ‘We Honor Veterans’ to help provide services to veterans who are in need of hospice care. FOCH offers massage therapy, pet therapy and has a team of “maintenance” volunteers that perform simple maintenance tasks to the interior or exterior of FOCH patient homes and property.

     The Bands, Brews and BBQ event has brought a greater awareness to hospice care and needs in the Beaufort community.

     “We like to call our events ‘friend-raisers,’ as they have been a huge part of building our volunteer base,” Roberg said. “This event is a great way to have a good time, but also to make people aware of the great cause that their money is supporting.”

     FOCH has seen a large increase in donations and volunteers stepping forward since the start of Brews, Bands and BBQ. The awareness brought forth by the event has led people to volunteer in the FOCH thrift store, volunteer in patient care and serve in various capacities in our community for hospice care.

     Volunteers are vital to the functionality of the organization. They make it possible to provide all of the services that are needed to enhance the quality of life for patients. A volunteer role can be as little as four hours a month as a student bereavement volunteer or patient and family support volunteer, or as involved as spending at least three hours a week at the FOCH thrift store sorting merchandise and running the cash register.

     Friends of Caroline Hospice will have information available at the event for how to get involved with the organization through volunteering and will be accepting donations.

     Tickets for admission to Bands, Brews and BBQ are available for purchase at www.friendsofcarolinehospice.org.  Additionally, anyone interested in entering barbeque or wings into the competition can contact FOCH through their website or by calling their office at 843-525-6257. All forms for entry into the competition are due by February 16th.

     Come out and enjoy some of the best wings and barbeque you can find while supporting an organization and cause that are vital to the Beaufort community.

United Way of the Lowcountry Women United is gearing up for their annual Power of the Purse event, celebrating the efforts of women in our community and supporting education initiatives benefiting children and families throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

     This year’s Power of the Purse presented by Beaufort Memorial will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at the Dataw Island Clubhouse from 6 – 9 pm, featuring live music, wine, beer, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction with designer handbags, jewelry, trips, golf packages and much more.  This year, event organizers have also added a new lounge area called “The Man Cave.”  “We hope you will join us for this special evening as we celebrate the efforts of women who help make a difference in our community, while helping to raise funds to support local children,” said Katie Phifer, Women United Chair.

     Proceeds from the Power of the Purse benefit Women United’s Breaking Barriers to Education Fund and Operation Backpack.

     The Breaking Barriers to Education Fund seeks to help fulfill needs that would otherwise prevent a student from attending school or from reaching their full potential. This fund is administered by the United Way of the Lowcountry HELPLINE, which works with school officials to directly remove financial barriers that stand in the way of a child’s education.  Over the years, the Breaking Barriers to Education Fund has been used to overcome a variety of barriers, giving children an opportunity to succeed in school.

     Through the proceeds, Women United also supports Operation Backpack, which provides backpacks full of school supplies and uniforms to children in our community who are not being served by another agency. Women United works with school social workers to identify students in need of supplies to help fill in the gaps and ensure students in our community have the tools they need to succeed on their first day of school. In 2017, Women United distributed 600+ backpacks to local students throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

     During the event, Women United will honor the Woman of the Year finalists and announce this year’s 2018 Woman of the Year.  Women United is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Woman of the Year.  Nominations are due no later than Friday, February 16, 2018.  For requirements and nomination forms, visit uwlowcountry.org.


     Women United, previously named Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), was founded locally in 2012. Women United members work together to engage, educate and empower others to become leaders and actively participate in the betterment of our community. Women United’s mission is to mobilize the caring power of women together to advance the common good by focusing on education in the forgotten pockets of Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

Presented by Beaufort Memorial

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dataw Island Club

6:00 – 9:00 pm

Live music, wine, beer, heavy hors d’oeuvres and silent auction

Tickets:  $65 | Couples $120

Tickets available online at uwlowcountry.org  or by calling 843.982.3040.

Featuring Nikky Finney, Anthony Grooms, J. Drew Lanham, Cassandra King Conroy and Tim Conroy

The Pat Conroy Literary Center will hold its second annual March Forth on March Fourth, commemorating the second anniversary of Pat’s death, on Sunday, March 4th, at the Frissell Community House at Penn Center on St. Helena Island. The Penn Center, a place of quiet dignity and rich history, is a perfect setting for the day-long embrace of nature, poetry, fiction, and fellowship among writers and readers in the heart of Conroy’s beloved lowcountry.

      Founded in 1862 by Quaker missionaries and one of the first schools for freed slaves, the Center is nestled in the quiet majesty of the lowcountry, surrounded by live oaks and loblolly pines. The Frissell Community House, located on a sloped embankment at the Center, served as an important interracial gathering place for leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. It was a place familiar and dear to Pat, not only for what it embodied and protected, but also in a more intimate way from his days as a high school student at Beaufort High. Pat first visited the Center in October, 1960 with Gene Norris, his English teacher, and later met Martin Luther King Jr, Julian Bond, and other prominent civil rights leaders there. Pat, in a speech that he gave at Penn Center in 2010 said, “I watched my whole country change because of meetings that had taken place at Penn Center.” And now Penn Center also serves as a gracious gatekeeper to the cemetery where Pat is buried.

      March Forth on March Fourth will feature National Book Award-winning poet Nikky Finney, two-time Lillian Smith Award-winning novelist Anthony Grooms, master naturalist and memoirist J. Drew Lanham, poet and retired teacher Tim Conroy, and best-selling novelist Cassandra King Conroy.

      Registration is $22 for all-day admission with an optional $18 for a catered box lunch by Debbi Covington. There are three menu options available online. Lunch reservations need to be made by noon, Thursday, March 1st. Register online at patconroyliterarycenter.org.


10:00–11:30 a.m.: Nature walk at Penn Center led by J. Drew Lanham

Noon–1:30 p.m.: Welcome by Cassandra King Conroy, Tim Conroy’s presentation on Pat Conroy’s Great Love of Poetry, optional catered box lunches

1:45–3:00 p.m.: Nikky Finney’s keynote poetry reading

3:00–3:30 p.m.: break and book signing

3:30–4:30 p.m.: Anthony Grooms’ discussion of his novel The Vain Conversation

4:30–5:00 p.m.: book signing, opportunity to visit Pat Conroy’s gravesite

     Presented in partnership with the Penn Center, this event is sponsored by a gift from Erin and Matt Devlin and by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission funded in part by a generous award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

story by Cindy Reid     photos by Susan DeLoach

Call Sheet

     Call sheet: A list, usually created by the first assistant director, of actors who will be required on set for each day’s shooting, what scenes are scheduled and which locations will be used.

     Calling all movie lovers, film buffs, festival goers and film festival fans. It’s that time of year again when our town is transformed by film makers and film lovers into the closest thing to Hollywood this side of the Beaufort River. Starting February 21 and continuing through February 25, this will be the twelfth annual Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF) and organizers are expecting their largest crowds yet. Last year, over 12,000 people attended some part of the festival over the course of five days, and as the festival grows every year, so does the size of the crowd.

     The festival schedule has been adjusted to a week later in the month than it has been held in the past, in order to avoid scheduling conflicts with Beaufort’s growing reputation as a Valentine’s Day destination, and with the Savannah Book Festival. Going forward, the festival will continue to be held in the time period between Valentine’s Day and the Academy Awards, and next year there will even be an additional day added to the festival schedule.

     Ron Tucker, President, Beaufort Film Society and  Co-Film Festival Director, says “This year is more of an ‘out of the box’ year. Starting this year, we will be screening all the feature films at night. This will be the first year that we host the Screenwriter’s Workshop and also a feature film on Thursday night. We are doing this in order to reach people who are out working all day but would like to see the feature films.” (At the price of $6.00 a film, you can’t beat this deal!)

     This year, approximately forty three films will be screened starting Thursday February 22 at 9 AM at the University of South Carolina Center for the Arts theater at 805 Carteret Street, Beaufort. “Our Official Selections represent the very best in filmmaking brilliance. Every human emotion will be affected ranging from intense anxiety to a pull of the funny bone.” stated Rebecca Tucker, Co-Festival Director. “Films from France, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico are among the selections, giving audiences a very diverse group of films to see. “

     Ron says,  “Filmmakers from around the world will be coming to the beautiful city of Beaufort from Paris, LA, NYC, Portland, Arlington, Lynchburg, Honolulu, Charlotte, Haifa, Washington DC, Jacksonville, Huntsville, Atlanta, Greenville, Charleston, North Hills, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Calgary, Brevard, Simpsonville, Bluffton, Caldwell, Fort Mill, Hilton Head, London, Findlay, India, Spartanburg, Orange, Morelia Mexico, Columbia, Bologna, Abbeville, Mandeville and places we probably don’t know about yet.”

     “It’s growing” says Ron, “This is the most films we have ever had at the festival. We have question and answer time built in the schedule for every filmmaker coming. We are also including films not in competition, such as the ones from ‘Reel South,’ the South Carolina ETV program hosted by Darius Rucker.”

     Awards will be presented in the areas of Features, Documentaries (Feature and Short), Short Films, Student Films, Screenplays, Animation. Comedy and Audience Choice. Also winners will be named for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. Ron says, “This is the first year that every director nominated for Best Director is scheduled to be here and attend the festival.” The awards winners will be announced at the  Red Carpet Reception and Awards Gala on Sunday, February 25th, also at the USCB Center for the Arts.

Key Light

     Key light: the main light on a subject. Usually placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera-subject axis. In high key lighting, the key light provides all or most of the light in the scene.

     For those new to the BIFF, a short introduction to its visionary founders Ron and Rebecca Tucker is in order. Rebecca, originally from Elizabethton, Tennessee, is the co-founder and Vice-President of the Beaufort Film Society since 2009 and Co-Director of the Beaufort International Film Festival since its inception in 2007.

     Formerly, Rebecca served as producer, director, writer and Marketing Director for Sandbar Productions, also doing business as Good-To-Go Video, from 2001 through 2013, specializing in documentary style productions featuring the United States Marine Corps.

     Rebecca served as the company liaison with the major network and cable providers like The History Channel, The Learning Channel, A&E, National Geographic and others. Rebecca was a key producer for over 600 Recruit Graduation Video Programs at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. Rebecca is a member of the Carolina Film Alliance and the International Documentary Association.

     This year Rebecca has been heavily involved with promoting each film, and the festival, on social media platforms such as Face book and Instagram. “We are featuring one film a day” says Rebecca, “and I think the film makers appreciate how much we support them and work to keep their films in the spot light.”

     Ron is originally from Woodruff, South Carolina and served in the Marine Corps for twenty one years, retiring at the rank of Captain in 1992. He served three tours in the Beaufort area during that time and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. In 1993, Ron formed a video production company, Sandbar Productions, LLC dba Good-To-Go Video.

     From 1994–2013, the company produced a series of documentary productions about the Marine Corps and provided content for many of the leading film and television providers to include The History Channel, National Geographic, ABC, CBS, NBC, the BBC and many more. GTGV has been awarded over 25 national and international awards for production excellence. From 1999-2013 GTGV produced over 600 graduation ceremonies at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC and made DVDs available for the new Marines and their families.

     In 2004, Ron became the Chairman of the Beaufort Regional Film Commission as part of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. In this position, he served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chamber Board of Directors. He was certified by the Association of Film Commissioners International in 2004. Ron is currently a member of the International Documentary Association and Carolina Film Alliance and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Webster University.

     Being named ‘STS Top 20 Event’ by the Southeast Tourism Society is only the latest of many honors BIFF has garnered over the years and it takes a whole cast of characters to make that happen. Just a few of the folks that contribute their talents every year are: Don “Music Man” Lehman, who is returning for the tenth straight year to BIFF, playing the best of jazz, blues and more at the opening and closing ceremonies. Susan DeLoach, Official Beaufort Film Society and BIFF Photographer and Debbi Covington, Official Caterer. Anneliza Itkor is the Awards Gala Emcee and has been a Finalist Juror for many years. Simone Griffith and Candace Brasseur, have also been Finalist Jurors for many years and their contributions are invaluable. These are just a very few names among the many that create the full BIFF experience for the film makers and film goers.

 Magic Hour 

     Magic hour: The short time just before sunset when light levels change dramatically and very quickly, enabling golden shots.

     This year, BIFF 2018 marks the inaugural presentation of the Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for bestselling author and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Pat Conroy, who was a long time resident of Beaufort, SC before his death in March 2016. “It is with the blessing of the Conroy family that we have named our most prestigious honor in the name of Pat Conroy. Beaufort’s long film history began with Pat when his novel The Great Santini was made into a feature film and shot right here in Beaufort,” said Rebecca .

     The award is being presented to Military Technical Advisor, actor and author Dale Dye. Ron says, “If you look at his body of work in the film industry over the past three decades, read the stories from the directors he has worked with like Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, you’ll see why we’re so very honored to present the first Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award to Hollywood legend Dale Dye.”

     Dale Dye was the Military Advisor on three productions shot in the Beaufort area, Forrest Gump, Rules of Engagement, and the television pilot Semper Fi. Ron says, “ He is one of the most recognized and respected players in the movie and television industry and his work has had a huge effect both behind and before the cameras, particularly in projects with a military theme. He has been credited with single-handedly changing the way Hollywood makes war movies.” Dale Dye’s work  has ranged from technical adviser to acting roles in war movies such as Platoon, Casualties of War, Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. He also hosted the History Channel’s documentary series, The Conquerors.

     Dale is a native of Southeast Missouri. In 1962, he graduated as a cadet officer from Missouri Military Academy with hopes of attending the U.S. Naval Academy. When that failed and there was no money available for college, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and reported to boot camp in January 1964. He served in Vietnam in 1965 and 1967 through 1970 surviving 31 major combat operations.

     He emerged from Southeast Asia highly decorated including the Bronze Star with V for Valor and three Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat. He spent 13 years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant before he was chosen to attend Officer Candidate School. Appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976, he later converted his commission and was a Captain when he was sent to Beirut with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in 1982-83. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Major in English.

     As a lifelong movie buff with a special penchant for war movies, Dale decided to head for Hollywood when he retired from active duty in 1984. His idea was to see if he could help make war movies more realistic and improve screen portrayals of military men and women. He founded Warriors, Inc., a business with the stated agenda of shining some long-overdue positive light on the people who serve and sacrifice in American military uniform past, present and future.

Over the years, Dale built his business into the premier military consultancy to motion pictures and television employing his well- respected, rugged and realistic method of fully immersing actors in a boot camp-style training program before the cameras roll. To date his firm has worked on more than fifty movies and TV shows including several Academy Award and Emmy winning productions.

     Dale also founded Warriors Publishing Group which publishes a premium slate of military-themed books written by veteran authors. Dale Dye is a published novelist, screenwriter and director as well as a consummate character actor with critically-acclaimed appearances in many films and television productions.

     He is currently in pre-production with what will be his feature film directorial debut in the World War II themed film No Better Place to Die. (the preceding biographical information was provided by the Beaufort International Film Festival). The Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by Leslie and Landon Thorne.

     Set Decorator Missy Ricker will receive the prestigious Behind the Scenes Award for her nearly twenty years of career achievements in the film and television industries. This award is presented to a South Carolina film or television professional, “Who very often works quietly off camera but whose efforts are vital to the success of team production efforts. Those many unheralded moments sometimes spanning an entire career are recognized with this award,” said Ron.

     Missy Ricker is an East Coast set decorator for the film and television industry, based in Charleston, SC, where she shares her home with husband and fellow crew member, Joey Ricker.

     Originally from Virginia, Missy began her career in theater and gradually moved into the film industry as a set dresser and ultimately as a set decorator. She earned her MFA in Photography and Filmmaking from VCU in Richmond, VA in 1994, and is currently an appointee to the Film Production Academic Advisory Committee at Trident Technical College, a Member of the Board of Directors for the Carolina Film Alliance™, and a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 491 Studio Mechanics Union.

     Her most recent credits include the pilot for the television series The Sinner starring Jessica Biel, Christopher Abbot and Bill Pullman, The Inspectors television series, seasons 2 and 3, on CBS Saturday mornings starring Jessica Lundy, Brett Green and Terry Serpico, and the latest feature film in the Halloween franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis. (the preceding biographical information was provided by the Beaufort International Film Festival) The Behind the Scenes Award is sponsored by Edie Smith and Eugene Rugala.


     Wrap: End of shooting. As in, “That’s a…”

     Ron says, “Word has gotten out among film makers because they are encouraging each other to submit their films. Our festival runs very well, our town is beautiful and I think our reputation for Southern Hospitality plays a role as well. In fact, this year we adjusted the schedule and planned the awards gala for Sunday evening so that our film makers can spend time seeing our area and perhaps envisioning future projects here.”

     Ron and Rebecca agree, “Every year the bridge from Beaufort to Hollywood gets shorter!”

     For more information about the 12th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival, visit www.beaufortfilmfestival.com. The festival is produced by the Beaufort Film Society.

     The festival dates are February 21-25, 2018 with the Red Carpet Reception and Awards Gala taking place on Sunday, February 25th at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, Center for the Arts.

     The Beaufort Film Society is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3, member-supported organization, dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry.