• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

Story By Mary Ellen Thompson
Photos By Susan Deloach

 

Phil “The Duke” Jenkins puts the “P” in personality. The first African-American radio announcer in Beaufort County, he is all about pizzaz. His outgoing personality and high wattage smile explain his popularity as a WBEU radio announcer and as a musician. Although Phillip Jenkins has been known for many things in his lifetime, not the least of which is that he is a rakish man-about-town dressed to the nines in his dapper outfits. He loves his music and he loves his clothes; and at age 83, Phil “The Duke” can still spin a tune and a tale.
Born in 1929 in Orlando, FL to Phillip and Sarah Bell Jackson Jenkins, Phil and his sister Willie Lee Fyall grew up in Port Royal, SC, where they moved when he was an infant.  Phil believes that until her recent passing, their aunt Alice Wilson,  was the oldest living resident of Port Royal. Another aunt in Port Royal was the well known “Pinky” Jackson who lived on 12th Street in the “Ma Pink House” and was famous for feeding everyone who came to her. “Grandma Pinkie,” Phil explains, “was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. She washed her hair in sand, not water.” “Grandma Pinkie” adopted Herbert Jackson as a young boy. Herbert, who also know as Tootie Frootie and another legend in Port Royal, daily herded Pinky’s cows to graze. After Pinkie’s death, Herbert continued to guide the non-existent cows down the streets all the while singing beautiful hymns.
Meanwhile, Phil was playing music of his own. “I started playing as a kid, I was about eight years old and the first instrument I played was a washtub G string bass. Then in 1948 I played in the band at the Robert Smalls School; first I played the tenor saxophone and later the b flat baritone sax.” Who were his inspirations? “Rupert Jones from Charleston and my music teachers, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Davis.”  His love of music was such that at one time, before he went into the military, he recounts wistfully but with his characteristic smile, “I ran away from home and went to Miami, Florida where I played with the well known band, The Twisters.  I couldn’t stay there long because my grandmother wondered where I was, so I had to come home.” Phil has also played with other notable musicians such as Earl Davis and the Pazant Brothers.
Nor did he miss a chance to play during his stint in the army when he played in a military band, the Engineers. As a Korean War Veteran, Phil received a Bronze Star, which was given to him by the President of Korea “For Heroic or Meritorious Achievement of Service.” After this military service, Phil came back to Port Royal and shared his love of music over the air waves at WBEU. “After I came back from the military I went back to school on the GI BIll. Mr. Trask built a radio station here  and I went to ask him for a job. He told me I needed to pass a test and get a license. So I hitchhiked and walked to Savannah to get that license. I passed the test, I got the license and I got the job.”  In 1955 Billboard Magazine acknowledged: “Phillip Jenkins, WBEU, who plays baritone sax in a local dance band every night, recently hosted Amos Milburn and Fats Domino on his program.” When asked what he liked best about being on the radio, Phil answered “I love music, I love to entertain people. I was a celebrity, in fact I’m still a celebrity even though hardly anyone knows my last name; I’m still Phil ‘The Duke.’”
With wife, Keturah Folbert, and a growing family, Phil realized that he could earn a better income elsewhere. So from 1955 until 1983 he moved his family to New York went to work for the Teamsters Union 816 in Brooklyn. When asked if he had ever participated in the local custom of making moonshine or whiskey in this area, he laughed and said “No, but my job in New York was hauling whiskey to the bars from the piers.” In 1983 Phil retired as a disabled veteran and moved back to Beaufort. However, their children, Isaac, Gertrude, Barnetta, Robert, Phillistine, Phillip, Edith, Kevin, and Dwayne are now scattered around the country. There are twenty grandchildren, forty seven great-grandchildren, and eight great-great grandchildren.
In a home filled with photographs and all manner of memorabilia collected over time, there is an area in his living room dedicated to sound equipment and lots and lots of old records. “I’m a jazz addict” Phil replies when asked about his favorite music. “I love the music of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Page and Charlie Parker.”
Having spent fifteen years doing volunteer work for the Veterans driving a bus to take veterans to the VA hospital, now when not moving to the music, Phil enjoys outdoor pursuits such as fishing, crabbing and shrimping. He also like to read, especially novels. A corner of his living room holds the spillover from his closet and pairs of shoes in all colors and textures are arranged like a piece of art; accompanying all the shoes are coordinating hats and suits. Some of his favorite haunts these days are Am-vets, the American Legion and the VFW. On Friday nights Phil “The Duke” likes to get dressed up and go out dancing to the music that will always reside in his soul.

Story By Mary Ellen Thompson
Photos By John Wollwerth

 

There is a slight misconception that Marilee Sartori is an artist. The proper perception is that she is art, from the top of her head, with her trademark spiky hair, to her bejeweled expressive hands, right on down to her sparkly pink shoes. Marilee adores glitz and glam, a quality you can’t just stand back and admire in her, because her very manner is infectious. When she laughs, you will join her and not even know why, other than it just feels so good. And just like that, her art feels good too. Her art is her house, her family, her decorating, her presentation, her cooking, her beautifully written thank you notes and a myriad of paintings. As one might imagine, her art is as fluid as her many talents, she does not have a “style.” One day she might paint a huge red and gold palm tree, the next a tutu clad ballerina frog; another day she can be found with a series of paint brushes in her mouth while she works on a complex wall mural, or a lush seascape, or a modernistic woman hailing a cab in the city.
Marilee Sartori notices things; she takes them all in and returns them back to life, in life as well as on canvas. When she and her husband, Don, entertain, it is like walking into a piece of art. Fifty years of marriage has melded them into a perfect team.
However easy she may make everything seem, that is anything but the case. When Marilee was born it was discovered that her birth mother had tuberculosis, and mother and daughter had to be immediately separated. Her father didn’t know what to do with a tiny baby and a wife who was thought to be terminally ill, so Marilee was given to family friends to raise. As luck would have it, Marilee’s story has continued to have many happy endings; one of which was that an antibiotic was discovered in time to save her birth mother’s life. A brief summation is that Marilee was adopted by the family friends, but was able to maintain some contact with her birth parents.
Although her adopted mother was a celebrated artist in Marilee’s hometown of Paducah, Kentucky, Marilee didn’t follow suit for many years. “My mother sent me to one art school after another, but they kept sending me home with notes that said something like ‘Don’t waste your money.’ Then she tried to teach me to paint, but that didn’t work either. My mother was the oldest of nine children; in those days being an artist was not a popular option so my mother went to secretarial school, but painting was her passion. It was not until some years later that I followed in her footsteps. In the meanwhile, having been in Catholic School all my life, I begged and begged to go to college at the University of Kentucky. When I got there, I did everything but study because for all those years with the nuns you couldn’t do anything but learn, fancy that!” Marilee laughs. “So at Christmas break of my freshman year, my father showed up at U of K to pick me up and after Christmas I was safely ensconced at the good Catholic girls college, Webster College in St. Louis, MO.”

Every morning from May through October, some 45 Fripp Island residents set their alarms early in order to be on the beach at daylight. They aren’t joggers or dog walkers. They are volunteers who willingly give up their mornings to make a difference in our lowcountry area. They are the Fripp Island Loggerhead Patrol.
“The first thing I did when I got here in April 2004 was to sign up with the turtle patrol.” says Janie Lackman, “I had seen a hatchling and I was hooked! When Tony and Karen Natoli retired as leaders five years ago I was the only one crazy enough to take it over and I have been the team leader ever since.” The official term is Project Leader or Nest Protection Leader but as serious as Janie and the turtle patrol members are about their mission, they don’t stand on ceremony. Or as Janie says, “Just call me the Crazy Turtle Lady!”
Janie speaks very highly of her dedicated team. “This is the best team environment possible and we all came together for one reason- the turtles. We really are a very close knit team and a family. Team members agree. Martha and Dickie Blanchard have been patrolling for eleven years. They say, “It is a part of us, we can’t not do it. It is absolutely a great team with a wonderful leader.” Kathy Agee says “I’ve never met a more passionate and dedicated turtle person – I don’t know how she does it!” Pat Earl said, “She’s awesome. It was my first year (on the patrol) and Janie took me under her wing, and it has been a great experience.” Sam Taylor has been on the team for five years and says, “It is still as exciting now as it was the first year”.

Mama Turtles

The team patrols the beaches at Fripp Island looking for signs that a mama sea turtle has laid a clutch (batch of eggs) during the night. The most common sea turtle in our area is the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, a massive reptile that weighs between 250 and 350 pounds when mature. The Loggerhead females return to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs, and so the female turtle hatchlings born on our sea islands will return to us when they are 25 to 30 years old to lay their eggs. Each mama turtle lays from four to six clutches per season, and each clutch contains around 100 eggs. In a perfect world, nature wouldn’t need human assistance but due to development of the sea islands, turtle teams have  their work cut out for them.
The Fripp Island Loggerhead Patrol’s mission is to find the nests and mark off the area, or relocate the nest if it is in danger due to tidal activity. The team is well trained in spotting the signs of a nest and how to locate the egg chambers. The patrol monitors each nest daily for months, at first for any signs of disturbance, and then for signs of emergence (when the hatchlings leave the nest).

Hatchlings

At the end of the season, Janie and the turtle team watch for signs of the hatchlings emergence. When it looks like a nest has hatched during the night, they follow up in three days by doing a physical inventory. When all the hatchlings have left the nest, the left over eggs and broken eggshells are counted and recorded. Occasionally a hatchling may still be in the nest, under all the broken eggshells, and the team ensures that the tiny turtle gets to the sea. Beaufort Lifestyle was with Janie and her team on Fripp to inventory three nests and we were lucky enough to have multiple hatchlings out of all 3 nests.
Janie and the team find teachable moments at every opportunity, letting children get close but not too close, and reminding adults that as tempting as it is to pick the tiny turtles up and put them in the sea, we need to let nature run its course and allow the hatchlings to make their own way. The turtle team efficiently manages the crowd that gathers to watch, ensuring that the interested observers don’t impede the hatchlings race to the sea.
It is profoundly moving to watch these tiny newborn hatchlings as they struggle to the surf and set off on their perilous journey. The first time observers and the “turtlers,” who may have seen this many times before, both fall silent with wonder at being able to witness nature at its most joyous and courageous.

Education Mission

Educating the public about sea turtles is as important as the patrol and monitoring work. Janie says, “There is so much we can do to save our turtles.  When you are at the beach pick up after yourself, fill in any holes you made in the sand, and lights off! It’s real simple and it all makes a huge difference in helping the turtles.” Another crucial issue is to “Give the turtles space”. As Janie says, “It’s not a zoo, this is nature and we all need to respect where we are in our surroundings. If you run up to a nesting female, you will bother her and she may go back out to the water and we then lose over a hundred hatchlings. Everyone means well and they have good intentions but we have to be careful.”

Friends of Caroline Hospice

Janie, who graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Psychology, has been the Development Director at Friends of Caroline Hospice located in Port Royal for the past three and a half years. She says, “Overall I wanted to give back to hospice, for what they did for my family. That’s what drew me to this work. You lose a little piece of yourself but it’s worth it.” Janie says, “FRIENDS is very unique in that it is totally dependent on donations and support from the community. We don’t accept money from insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or our patients. We want to, and are able to, help anyone who needs our help.”
FRIENDS’ events include the Festival of Trees, Cheeseburgers in Paradise and Bands, Brew & BBQ. When asked what her favorite event is, Janie laughs and says, “I love all our events! Each one is special in a different way.” Regarding the upcoming Festival of Trees she says “It involves everyone from the Head Start kids who come to see Santa to our older residents who come to see the trees, which are wonderful because each tree represents someone in our community.”

Elvis, Pet Therapy Superstar

Janie says, “I got into hospice work through my basset hound Elvis, who is a therapy dog. It started when Elvis was a puppy and we would visit my dad’s parents at a retirement community. We were visiting my grandmother at Memory Care and we walked by a resident who turned and looked at Elvis. This resident hadn’t talked in years, but seeing Elvis brought out full sentences from her. Elvis and I visited this lady until the day she passed. That type of connection really got me hooked on pet therapy. It is such a special connection. “Elvis is now 13 years old but she (yes Elvis is a girl) still comes to the office with Janie most days and continues her pet therapy work. Janie also has another dog at home, a chow named Harvey, who is “the sweetest dog in the world”. Janie laughs and says, “I guess you can call me the Crazy Dog Lady too!”

Family Roots

Janie says “I am who I am because of my family. My love of the outdoors comes from my mom and my 92 year old Grandma is a true inspiration.  My dad helps to keep me grounded and is a frequent “volunteer” at both FRIENDS and Festival of Trees events. My sister Laura and her children are great and I love spending time with all of them.”  Although Janie grew up in southwest Pennsylvania, her family has since all settled in the North Carolina mountains. After visiting her family’s beach house here for years, Janie says “I always knew I wanted to be in this area and I have been lucky enough to end up here.” A resident of Fripp Island for the last eight years she says what drew her was, “The ocean, because I have always loved the beach. Now I cross the bridge and I am home.”

Next

The turtle season is over until next spring, and Janie will add to her knowledge by taking the ten month Lowcountry Master Naturalist Class. She says,”  I am really looking forward to it. “When asked what else she is going to do in the “turtle off season” she says “Sleep late! I am not a morning person at all!” But she says she couldn’t imagine not being a “turtler”. “It’s the first egg, the first tracks on the sand, the first hatchling. Then it’s the last nest of the season and I have empty nest syndrome!” She pauses a moment and concludes. “Nature and animals have always been an interest of mine, but at the same time, I love working with people and I love being here at Friends of Caroline Hospice. And I can’t see myself ever leaving Fripp Island and the turtles.”

The United States Military Academy at West Point. For visitors it is an impressive sight, situated on a high stone bluff overlooking the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City. For entering cadets it is awe inspiring. It is not just the history, or the imposing granite buildings, or even that fact that for most entering cadets this is their first ‘home away from home”. It is the responsibility of becoming part of “The Long Gray Line” that inspires these cadets and Beaufort’s own Michael Evans is no exception.
As an entering cadet in the class of 2012, Cadet Evans has started the journey of becoming an officer in the United States Army. “I always wanted to serve in the military, and I thought I might as well give it a shot and try and become an officer. It was either this or I was going to enlist,” he says. Motivated by love of country he says, “I can’t explain it. It is a gut feeling, when you know you are doing something right.”
West Point is the military academy for the United States Army and the students, always referred to as cadets, are actually officers-in training. They will graduate with a college degree and as commissioned Army officers, who are then required to serve five years of active duty and three years in the reserves. But first, they have to be accepted.

Admission

It is definitely not easy to get into “The Point”. “No it’s not!” agrees Cadet Evans. Good grades in high school and on the SAT are just the starting point. Unlike other institutions of higher learning, candidates must be between the ages of 17 to 23, unmarried and with no legal obligation to support a child in order to even to start the application process. Cadet Evans says, “In addition you have to have a good discipline record and no police record.”
Interested candidates must also get what is called a nomination, which is typically obtained from their local United States Senator or United States Representative. (Politics plays no role in this process and applicants do not need to have any personal history with their elected official.)” I got my nomination from Senator Joe Wilson, and Representative Shannon Erickson gave me an enormous amount of help” says Cadet Evans. “I really didn’t think I was going to make it (through the application process). When I got my nomination I felt better- I was a lot more confident about the outcome.”
He continues, “I also had to pass the CFA (Candidate Fitness Assessment) and a medical screening.” Only 12.75% of the applicants were accepted to the Class of 2012, for a total of 1292 entering cadets, making them the “best of the best”.

Beast Barracks

Entering cadets arrive in the summer to attend “Beast Barracks,” which as Cadet Evans says, “It transitions you to cadet .We didn’t get much sleep because it was a lot of field training to prepare you militarily and it did its job. Every summer we go through ‘basic schools,’ which are military training, not academic.” When asked if “beast” was hard to get through, Cadet Evans said, “It was valuable training, and actually the academic year is ten times harder.”

Cadet Life

“The Point” has its own rules and traditions that all cadets must follow. Every cadet will reside on campus for all four years and the entire cadet population eats breakfast and lunch together Monday through Friday. Time spent off campus is highly regulated. Cadet Evans says “It takes a while to get used to, having your free time restricted, but I get enough. When you do have free time you should be studying or working out. There is a saying here: You can have good grades, a social life, or sleep. Pick two of these options because you can’t have three. “
And don’t use the standard terms “freshman, sophomore” etc. At West Point entering cadets are in the fourth class, sophomores are in the third class, juniors are in the second class and seniors are in the first class. More informally they are known as plebes, yearlings, cows and firsties.
In addition to being graded on their academic performance, cadets are also evaluated on military leadership performance and their mandatory participation in one competitive sport every season.  Cadet Evans says, “We are graded according to the ratio of 60% academics, 30 % physical performance and 10% military skills. I am still deciding regarding my major, it’s between engineering and history. As far as sports goes, I played football and ran track in high school, and so right now my sport is flag football. “
As in any military academy, there are repercussions if the daily rules are broken, things such as being late to class, a less than polished appearance or having a messy room. After  warnings,  the consequences can escalate to  “punishment tours,” also known as  “walking the area” because the cadet will be given a certain amount of hours to be spent marching in the cadet barracks courtyard. When asked if he had incurred any punishment tours yet, Cadet Evans laughed and said,” Not yet! I seen them out there walking in the courtyard, and I imagine my time will come.”

Home

Cadet Evans was born in Charleston but raised in Beaufort. He credits the Reeves family for being a positive influence in his life. He says, “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. They were always there to help me out. With them I always had a place to stay and a hot meal. But most importantly, they have been good roles models and they have had a huge impact on my life.” When asked if the Reeves were his ‘home away from home,” Cadet Evans pauses and says, “No, the Reeves family, well they are just home.”
Cadet Evans says he has made many friends already, but he does miss his friends and the fishing back home in Beaufort. “And I miss the food!” he adds, “I miss sweet tea and shrimp and grits!”

Long Gray Line

Illustrious alumni are the norm at the academy, as many famous military leaders, two Presidents of the United States (Grant and Eisenhower), fifteen astronauts and seventy four Medal of Honor recipients have been graduates. Reflecting on the journey he has embarked upon, Cadet Evans says, “It is all worth it. To lead soldiers, to keep my country safe, it is a blessing.”

Saint Helena Island is physically the largest of the sixty some inhabited islands that comprise Beaufort County. The Island is home to some impressive history including Fort Freemont, the Penn School, several antebellum plantation remnants and acres and acres of agriculture. As such, it is also home to many people whose lives have not changed much since the days of the dirt roads and mule drawn carts; in other words – people who are very, very poor. People whose ancestors picked cotton, people who pick tomatoes, people who lived off the bounty of the water and of the land, once upon a time. Plenty of folks in the world have fallen upon hard times and some have had helping hands reach out to them. But the people on Saint Helena Island are very fortunate to have the Franciscan Sisters. Sister Stella Breen and Sister Sheila Byrne are the ones with their hands reaching out to those hands that are outstretched. With warm hearts, lilting accents, and a wee bit of a hint of fairy-leprechaun in them (because they work hard to grant a wish to their people), these Sisters will just steal your heart.
Both of them, separately, came here on a circuitous route beginning in County Cork, Ireland. They knew when they joined the Sisters of St. Francis as teenagers that they would be leaving their home in Ireland and not going back. It was a big commitment for a young woman to make, to leave not only her home, but also her family and country. They explain, “Vocations were huge back then.  Missionaries would come to our school to impress us; we were inspired by their stories.”
The Convent of the Sisters of St. Francis in Philadelphia, PA was their first home in the United States; Sister Stella arrived in 1950, Sister Sheila followed a few years later.  After a long and rather complicated process that included attending Villanova University, making their profession, taking their final vows, and being sent to several different missions in various parts of the East Coast, these two Sisters wound up in Morehead City, NC in 1979. Then, in 1987, Bishop Underkoffler in Charleston, expressed a need for Sisters to “Live among the poor on Saint Helena Island and to be present to their needs.” The islanders needs were many, including, among other issues, illiteracy, the elderly, teenage pregnancy and poverty. The Sisters feel that “The crime of our country is that children don’t finish school. We encourage them to go to school, to stay in school. When we first got here we went up and down the dirt roads and talked to people. After about a week, a lady came to us with the card that had the name of a lawyer, Wescoat Sandlin. He came to us every Saturday and taught us to manage immigration papers, he helped people to become resident aliens and part of our ministry has been to help with immigration processing and citizenship classes.
“We started education programs, tutoring after school, English as a second language, literacy in the evenings, and evening tutoring. We ask the children, ‘Do you have homework?’ We help them improve their language skills, reading comprehension and math.” In the summer there is a two week Summer Enrichment Program for 30 – 35 children ages 8 – 16. Sister Sheila remarks, “At the end of the day, you’re just so happy to be able to help the children, or just to be able to listen.”
Education is far from all they do. These remarkable and tireless Sisters have instituted The Home Repair Program. Joining with other agencies such as the Coalition of Aging and Habitat for Humanity, they help people improve their homes by building ramps, installing bathrooms and repairing roofs. The Sisters organizations have helped over a hundred families refurbish their homes each year for the past eight years. Sometimes they partner with the families – they buy the supplies and the families are responsible for providing the labor; the Baptist Church of Beaufort helps build ramps. Funding for the program comes from grants, donations, and fund raisers; eight volunteers assist the Sisters in complying with Christ’s commandment to St. Francis: “Francis, go repair my house, which is falling into ruins.”
There is a food program for the senior citizens – over 400 Christmas food bags are packaged and given to the elderly. At Christmas, Santa comes to the Center and 500 gifts, given by St. Peter’s Church, The Marine Corps Air Station, as well as various clubs and garden groups, are wrapped by volunteers and given to the children. Additionally, in 2010- 2011 financial assistance was given to over 680 families – helping to pay their bills and manage their money.
The Migrant Farm Worker Program and Migrant Food Drive are generously supported by the local community and volunteers. According to their newsletter, “During their early travels up and down the dusty roads of St. Helena, the Sisters discovered agricultural farm workers living in ten different camps under poor conditions. Outreach to the community quickly became an important focus of the Sister’s ministry. Today the farm workers are transported in crowded buses from Central and South America – Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. They arrive on St. Helena with nothing but temporary US Agriculture visas and the clothes on their backs. Over 100 volunteers from the Franciscan Center prepare and distribute 500 boxes of food and donated bedding, toiletry items and shoes to 1500 workers in 10 agricultural farm camps on St. Helena, to tide them over until their first paycheck.” Last year 700 pairs of tennis shoes were donated to the workers. The Beaufort community is invited to support this program – $30 will fill one box of food, $6 will provide one toiletry kit.
Funding for all these projects comes from different sources – the annual Valentine’s Brunch, the annual yard sale held early in December, individuals who sponsor families, local churches and all the people who donate items along the way. The Thrift Shop on the property at the end of Mattis Road is a gem where all manner of treasures can be found. It is open Tuesday – Friday 10:00 – 4:00 and on Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00. Donations are gratefully accepted any time the shop is open.
Occasionally, dollars come anonymously in envelopes. The Sisters acknowledge that “We have helped improve the lives of those served over the past twenty-five years. The Sisterhood has been good to us; but the blessing of all blessings are the 150 volunteers.” Sisters Sheila and Stella have received several letters of thanks; the Arana family wrote, “My family and I are very lucky and beyond grateful to have Sisters Stella Breen and Sheila Byrne in our lives. Their passion for helping the community surpasses that of any organization. They not only cared about the physical well being of an individual, they cared enough to incorporate the enrichment of the mind and soul. Through the Franciscan Center, the Sisters have helped my family and countless others, realize that we can achieve great things. I’m just so thankful to the Lord for having created such wonderful, strong, passionate women; and somehow having the luck to have had them in our lives.”
Who knew all this was happening in relative quiet at the end of a small street, that all this good was being disbursed, and lives were being changed for the better – one day and one step at a time?  It seems perhaps that the Saint Helena, after whom this island was named, chose wisely and was blessed with two women who started the Penn School in 1862 to educate people; and these two women, Sisters Stella and Sheila, who came here twenty five years ago “To listen, be present, and serve those in need.”

Sometimes when you are watching the night sky, one star appears to sparkle a little more as the evening wears on. Your eyes keep coming back to that spot to see what’s happening. Madeline Aune is one of Beaufort’s stars. She continues to shine brighter, jump higher, and outdo the one person with whom she’s really in competition – herself.
For the past three years, Maddie has distinguished herself in pole vaulting. “I started gymnastics when I was three. By the time I was in sixth grade I had to quit due to injuries. I had broken four bones in my foot and had sustained seven stress fractures. I thought it was the end of the world, but when one door closes…”
The leap from gymnastics to pole vaulting is not as unusual as the casual observer might think. Both sports require a lot of athletic ability, rigorous training, dedication and commitment. How did the transition occur for Maddie? “Pole vaulting found me. It’s challenging and I love a challenge!” Her enthusiasm is catching, “Pole vaulting is so much fun, I really enjoy it.” But on the sobering side, Maddie acknowledges what it takes to be in her position. “I’ve sacrificed a lot to be where I am. In addition to practicing here, I go to Columbia twice a week to train. I do
strength workouts three times a week. I watch what I eat, and I make sure to stay fully hydrated and rested.” She’s fully aware of the commitment her family makes to her sport, in terms of time as well as financially.
Maddie is a junior at Beaufort High this year. Merging her athletic schedule with the other aspects of her life requires a bit of juggling. With her trade mark enthusiasm and engaging smile, Maddie pronounces “I’m a normal teenager. I like to be with my friends and go to the beach, the movies, we’re always laughing. They support me so much – that’s what friends are for!” In addition to her friends at home and school, Maddie is part of a bigger group of the 604 girls who pole vault in South Carolina.
As in every sport, there are friends and friendly competitors – and those people, who truly understand and share a commitment to the sport, become a sort of family. Maddie says, “People who are in the sport are the ones who understand what we’re going through.”
The very basics of pole vaulting are explained in the engineering publication Illumin: “The vault is a complex, yet seemingly fluid and graceful process that utilizes almost all of the core muscles of the body and requires a large amount of practice and skill. This complex process can be broken down into four basic steps: the approach, the plant/take-off, the swing-up, and the push-off.” Coach Gibbes McDowell goes on to explain: “In pole vaulting with a fiberglass pole, the athlete seeks to transfer as much of his/her running speed and body weight as possible into the pole as stored kinetic energy as the pole bends. With the right coaching and gymnastic skills, the athlete learns how to translate the release of this stored kinetic energy into maximum vertical energy as the pole uncoils. Speed, power, grace, and raw talent determine how successful athletes utilize this explosion of energy to jump greater heights. The best of the best bring absolute focus, bereft of all else, to each and every vault. To each and all: ‘Go high or go home.’”
In competition, the athletes gets three attempts at each height. Once they achieve that height, they go on to the next. If they don’t make that height in the three jumps, they are out of the competition. Depending upon the number of entrants, a competition can last as long as four to five hours.
Aside from the obvious factor of the time commitment to the sport, what other challenges does Maddie face? “ I’m a perfectionist. I put everything I have into everything I do. All of my coaches have taught me so much about life in general. Gibbes McDowell is my pole vaulting coach at Beaufort High, Herbert Glaze is my track coach, David Kirkwood my gymnastics coach,
Shane Miller my strength coach and Rusty Shealy is my coach in Columbia, where my dad drives me twice a week.” She continues, “If I have a bad practice, I have learned to take it as a learning experience because this is also a mental sport. I’m learning good time management skills, I take honors and AP classes, I study a lot. Just like pole vaulting, I put 100% into my studies. I would like to graduate at the top of my class. I’m also in ROTC, the Spanish Honor Society, the Math Club and Interact. When I
have the time, I do like to relax with my family – they mean everything to me!”
One can imagine that with Maddie’s drive and exuberance, that the sky is the limit when it comes to her aspirations. “It would be amazing to go to the Olympics! Could I see myself there? Wow – that would be mind blowing!”
With a sense of pragmatism, Maddie is well aware that the whole is the sum of the parts. “Everybody goes through struggles; real athletes will push through when others would quit.” She had many sources of inspiration in addition to her family, friends and coaches, “I’ve met so many girls at the Nationals and seen how they got there and what their experiences have been. I don’t read too much but when I do, I like athletes’ bios; one of my favorites is about Apolo Ohno who is an Olympic speed racer and the most
decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time. I actually got to meet one of my role models Tim Mack, who was the gold medalist in pole vaulting in the 2004 Olympics. He said to me ‘You’ve got so much ability!”
Coming up are two very important competition opportunities for Maddie in 2013: the World Junior Competition which will be held in the Ukraine, and the Junior Pan Am Games in Peru. The qualifying meets for the World Junior Competition will be held in Missouri, and the PamAms in Eugene, Oregon.
Needless to say, Maddie would like to be in either or both of those qualifying meets! The opportunity for the World Junior games is limited to 16 and 17 year olds who have attained a certain qualifying height. Maddie says with a conviction that speaks of her desire to be a contestant, “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” Only the top two contenders from these meets will advance and represent the USA in the games.  And if advanced, the logistics of time and finances come into play; competitive sports are expensive in terms of equipment, travel, accommodations and incidentals.
Maddie’s mom, Dixie, is a nurse practitioner at the Naval Hospital; dad, Chad, is a sports photographer; older brother, Tim, is at college and younger sister, Lily Mae, is in the third grade; so many schedules need consideration when Maddie competes.
Maddie is grateful to her coaches, who in turn all speak very highly of her. Coach Gibbes McDowell says, “Besides her obvious athletic skills, I believe Maddie’s greatest assets are her commitment to making the sacrifices of time and of being a normal 16 year old girl, to do the extra strength and gymnastic training required to excel at the top level of her sport and her mental toughness as a ‘clutch jumper.’ Maddie has won many competitions on her third and last attempt to break a tie with other good vaulters who could not control their anxiety and outside distractions to focus wholly on a single, maximum, go-for-broke attempt. This is how she won the 2012 State Championship. She and another girl were tied on height and attempts at 12 feet; Maddie cleared this height and went on to clear 12 feet 6 inches for the win.” Coach Rusty Shealy says this about her, “Maddie
is a wonderful athlete and a wonderful young lady. Extremely coachable, she has the talent and the drive, but also she is able to make the adjustments that we ask her to make and that’s a rare quality. Some are easy and some are hard and they take time, and she makes good quick adjustments. She’s a pleasure to coach and I’ve coached a lot; once in awhile it’s like you can read each other’s minds.”
With not only her own hard work, but the help of all those who support her, Madeline Aune is a sure bet to get to wherever she wants to go. So look up, toward the sky over the high bar, and follow her star.

Born in 1913 on Saint Helena Island to Ezekiel and Gertrude Grant, and the oldest living graduate of the Penn School, Kathleen Grant Daise fondly remembers the days when she was a student there. “I enjoyed everything! I loved to go to school; I was always on time.” And being on time was not always an easy feat because the young Kathleen walked about three miles each way to school every day from her home on the old Croft Plantation on Eddings Point Road. “When the tide came up it would cover the dirt road. If we waited for the tide to go down we would be late so we found another footpath that we could use.” It may be as a result of those walks that her son, Stan, remembers her saying, “Time and tide wait for no man.”
Mrs. Daise’s grandparents are likely to been born into slavery on the Croft Plantation, her mother died when she was only five and her father had died before she was born. Her love of school and her education were so important to her that she became a teacher herself. “I was the youngest in my house. There were six children, and I was happy to get out and go to school!” But Mrs. Daise had to wait an extra two years to attend school. In Memories of Penn School, she recalls, “At age six I was a very little girl, but I was quite ready for school because I could spell my name and I could also write my name. Penn School did not require you to have a birth certificate, which we did not have then. They just assumed that since I was so small, I was not six. I was eight years old before I was admitted. How unfortunate!”
Mrs. Daise remembers some of her experiences at Penn with pride, and some with humor. When she was in her early teens, she was awarded the opportunity to go to Columbia, SC to a biscuit making contest. “I was one of the ones who could really make a biscuit! It was my first trip away from Beaufort; my uncle took me across the water in a boat to meet my ride to Columbia. It was a long trip on the bumpy dirt roads.” Did she have a secret technique? With just the glimmer of a smile, all she’ll tell is that she used a fork when making the batter. Mrs. Daise laughs when she tells the story of a well known schoolmate who used to put bricks in his shirt to bulk up a bit on the basic health screening day at school when the students were weighed.
Graduating in 1933, Mrs. Daise also explains in Memories of Penn School, “When I entered, Penn only went to the eleventh grade. When I completed the eleventh grade, a twelfth year was added to more thoroughly train teachers. We had to make out a lesson plan, and we used children from the lower grades to do our practice teaching on. So after graduation, you could go into a classroom and work. That was a great advantage. I was in the first such class. Several students who had already graduated returned to Penn for the year of teacher training.” With that experience under her belt, Mrs. Daise began her long teaching career on Saint Helena Island at the Lee Rosenwald School on the McTureus Plantation, where she lived in a cottage on the property. Her next position was at the Elting School on the Tom Fripp Plantation where she was one of only two teachers and taught the youngest of the children.
In 1936 Kathleen Grant married Henry Daise, known as Chansome, and over the course of years they had nine children: Catherine, Mildred (deceased), Henry Jr. (deceased), Benjamin, Irene, Vera, Osalami (nee Barbara), Stanley, and Ronald.
When they married, Henry Sr. was in the Civil Service and a carpenter at Parris Island which is where he learned the building trade. Son Stan recalls a time that was a testimony to his fathers skills and his mothers support. “1959 was a year most St. Helenians remember because of Hurricane Gracie. I remember an exchange that took place between Mama and Daddy because of warnings that came about the pending storm. Mama asked Daddy if we could go to Aunt Marge’s house because her house was made from concrete and ours was made from wood. She felt this would be sturdier and therefore safer for us. Daddy was a carpenter and told her he felt our home would be all right. Mama remained calm and appealed to him to let the children go to Aunt Marge’s and she would remain there with him. Daddy still did not agree and we all stayed. The storm hit and I recall Daddy and Ben bracing the front door to keep it from being blown in. A part of the roof did come off the house, but we survived without extensive damage or any injury. I never forgot this because I saw first hand her concern for our safety and yet a commitment to Daddy in spite of her own apprehensions. Daddy helped build our house with wood and nails but Mama built our home with love.”
As a teacher, wife, and mother of nine children, Mrs. Daise found ways to balance her personal and professional life. Daughter Irene says of her mother, “My mother is the most resourceful person that I know. We never had a car when we were growing up, but somehow she managed to attend all PTA meetings and other school programs. She always found a way for us to attend school events. I really think she could pray up rides for us to go where we needed to go. Educators talk of the importance of parental involvement; they really need to patent what my mother practiced. She instilled in us a love of reading and the power of education.”
Of the various holidays and festivals that the Daise family attended at Penn, Baby Day was a favorite of Mrs. Daise. In her son Ronald’s book Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage, she further explained, “‘Mothers were always proud of their babies and looked forward to the next Baby Day,’ continues Mrs. Daise. ‘That was the day the mothers took their babies to the Penn School campus to be weighed and measured. All the midwives were there. All the healthy babies received blue ribbons; others, honorable mention. It taught mothers to try to keep their babies (infant to four years old) healthy. There were always a number of blue-ribbon babies because the mothers would try to live up to what the midwives were teaching them: how to care for the baby, how to bathe him, and what kind of food to give him. All of mine were blue ribbon-babies!’ Mrs. Daise boasts about four of her nine children born before the event was terminated.”
A genteel and gracious woman, Mrs. Daise has always been an integral part of her community and beloved by family and friends alike. Robert (Bobby) Middleton remembers, “I knew her when we were kids. She has always been a nice, kind person with a wonderful smile. She would never pass you by without speaking. She’s the same person now that she was then; what amazes me is that it seems like she hasn’t aged a bit.”
Son, Ron, shares the memory of the quote with his brother, Stan. Mama would always say, I’ve passed this proverb on to my children. It means: ‘Don’t procrastinate. Get things done that need to be done. Other responsibilities will follow.’ She’d also ask quietly whenever circumstances seemed grim, ‘So did you think life is just a flowery bed of ease?’ Afterward, she’d advise praying about the situation to gain some sense of handling it and then beginning to take care of it – with faith that God would guide you throughout its resolution She has always been a straight-shooter. She continues to give blessings – praying with and for you and advising you with scripture when you’ve reached different stages of life. However, when she thinks it’s needed, her words or body language can bless you out.”
Kathleen Grant Daise has lived on Saint Helena Island for ninety-nine years; years in which she has seen many changes. But one thing remains constant, everyone who knows her, everyone whose life she touched, holds her in the highest regard. Daughter Osalami, her caregiver who is a retired teacher, singer and songwriter, sums it up best in a song she wrote entitled “She’s A Queen.” Some of the lyrics go like this:
“Gertrude held her child in her loving arms and she said,
Kathleen daughter, you will live long years,
You will conquer tears when the pain, it brings them.
You will rise up strong, you will not stay down,
And you will bring forth children….
Now she’s a Queen, we’re here to tell you
Now she’s a Queen.”

Humility is not often associated with NFL football players. The nature of their profession calls for an assertive, if not aggressive personality. But spend a few minutes talking with Ron Parker, native son of St. Helena Island, and currently an NFL player with the Seattle Seahawks and his humility comes shining through. Born and raised right here, Ron says “I spent the first five years of my life in Port Royal, and then we moved to St. Helena Island, where I grew up way down by Hunting Island.”
Ron says he had a good start in his football career at Beaufort High School. “I started as a cornerback when I was a junior, which is the position I play today, and then I was a free safety my senior year.” He says of his high school coach, Mark Clifford, “He was a really good coach. “ When asked what the most valuable lesson he learned from Coach Clifford, Ron paused and thought for a minute.  Then he looked up and said determinedly, “I learned to play through adversity.”
After graduating from Beaufort High School, Ron attended a junior college, but was looking for something more. After transferring to Newberry College he found the right fit. He says, “Coach Todd Knight started me out slow my first year, and then the second year I picked it up.” Picked it up? There’s that humility.  Check out Ron’s statistics from the Newberry College Athletic Department’s website….
2010: The Sporting News Preseason All-American… Lindy’s First Team Preseason All-American… Consensus Draft Services Preseason All-American… D2Football.com Preseason first team All-American…
2009: South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year… Don Hansen’s Football Gazette First Team All-American… D2Football.com Second Team All-American… DAKTRONICS Second Team All-American… The State Newspaper All-South Carolina… Orangeburg Touchdown Club All-South Carolina… DAKTRONICS First Team All-Super Region Two… All-South Atlantic Conference First Team… South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, October 19…
At college Ron says he was “Always trying to get better. The path was cleared for me to always improve.” And today he has the same attitude, saying “I never think I am all done and can’t get better. And I like going back to Newberry and working out with the team. I like to talk to the guys and lead by example.”

Pro Career

Ron graduated from Newberry with a degree in Sports Management, completing his education before embarking on a pro football career. He was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks, but after his first year there, he went to the Oakland Raiders. Ron says , “It was a business decision I made at the time, but then the Seahawks exercised their ‘right’ and claimed me back in October 2011. “ He says “Seattle is good, that’s where all my brothers are at, and it is beautiful city and great place to live.”
He credits his professional success to growing up in a small town, “attending a small high school and a small college, those environments all helped me get to where I am now.” He says the biggest surprise about being in the NFL was, “Going up against the best. I couldn’t believe that I was competing against the best players, making plays on a high level.”  When asked if they hit hard at that level he laughed and said, “They hit hard but that’s right up my alley!”
The Seahawks fans are famous for being loud; in fact their stadium is considered the loudest in the NFL. The fans even have their own number, homage to their passionate cheering, collectively they are known as “Number 12”. The point is to support their team of course, but also to intimidate the opposition. When asked how he handled being out there on the field in the midst of the bedlam, Ron laughed and said, “It brings me more energy and gets me ready to go!”

New Season

The Seahawks will have started training camp by the time this goes to press, which Ron says, “Feels like home.” They also have new uniforms this year (not pictured here), designed by Nike, Ron says “They are very sharp.” A relatively new team, the Seahawks joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. They have made one Superbowl appearance, in 2006, but lost the game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But as every sports fan knows, every season is a new opportunity. As Ron says, “This could be our year, we have a great team, and a hungry team, and we can do it!”

No Place like Home

“I like travelling, I like being on the road but there really is no place like home” Ron says. “I definitely miss lowcountry cooking, and all the seafood.”He says the game he is most looking forward to this season is the Seahawks against the Carolina Panthers, held in North Carolina, because “It is the game that is closest to Beaufort and I will see all my friends and family there.”
Part of a close knit family, Ron says, “All of my family is here. My Dad’s side is in Port Royal and my Mom’s side is on St. Helena.” Ron’s mother, Rose Parker, works at the Lady’s Island Montessori School and his father, Ronzo Parker is a truck driver. Sister Ronique also works at the Montessori School and Ron’s identical twin brother Donald works with Ron in Seattle, helping his brother throughout the season. Ron made sure to mention his first cousin, Justin Parker, who is making a big name for himself as a linebacker at Clemson. “He really has what it takes” Ron says of Justin. “He is definitely a player to watch. So sorry Gamecock fans, I pull for Clemson!”
Wherever his career takes him, Ron says,” I would like to come back here to Beaufort because there is no place like home.”

Trey Arant found his athletic calling very early in life. He is a wrestler, and a good one. “Some friends told me that they thought it would be good for me,” said Arant. “After a while of convincing I decided I’d give it a try and I’m going on six years now.”

His second year of wrestling was in 2009 in the 8th grade. That year, he placed second in Middle School State in the 125-pound weight class. That same year he took first in the Beaufort County Middle School Competition and the Green & Gold Qualifying Tournament.

He just got better from there. In his freshman year, his first year on the varsity squad, Arant was a 2010 Lower State Qualifier in the 145-pound weight class.

His sophomore year brought a collection of notable accomplishments, including 2011 4A State Qualifier, 2011 Beaufort Gazette / Island Packet All Area Team in the 145-pound class, and first place in the Dutch Fork Silver Fox tournament, among others.

As a junior, Arant made the Beaufort Gazette / Island Packet All Area Team again, this time in the 160-weight class. He took first place in the 2012 4A Region 8 All Region and again topped the Dutch Fork Silver Fox competition.

Arant has amassed an impressive overall record thus far as he goes into his senior year, with a record of 81-43 with 57 pins, 18 reversals, and 76 escapes. He holds the Beaufort High School record for the fastest Technical Fall, 19-3 in just under 2 minutes.

Arant is strong in the classroom as well. His senior year will include college preparatory classes that will help get some of his basic college work done ahead of time. He has dual enrollment at Technical College of the Low Country moving forward with his prerequisite courses.

When he’s not hard at work wrestling or studying, Arant likes to relax around the house, spend time with friends or his girlfriend of seven months, Erin.

“I’d like to major in psychology and hopefully get a doctorate in it someday,” he said.

“He’s never considered himself to be a great wrestler,” said his father, Melton Arant. “He just goes out and wrestles.” Dad thinks his son has a decent shot at a wrestling scholarship. “People like to go out and watch him wrestle just because of the way he wrestles,” he said.

A crucial point in Arant’s high school wrestling career came last December when he suffered a shoulder injury and really didn’t tell anybody. He wasn’t the same wrestler. He was unable to do many of the things on the mat that the coaches were accustomed to seeing him do.

Eventually, Arant complained of a strained shoulder. After the season ended, a medical examination revealed a torn shoulder which would eventually require surgery. He wrestled for two months with the injury and made it all the way to second place in state competition, nearly winning the state title. The competitor that beat him had already been a two-time state champion in that weight class.

“People watching him who know him comment on how focused he is,” said his father. “He walks out on the mat and he’s all business. You never see him taunting and you never see him talking trash. He wants to wrestle and he wants to have a good match.”

Arant had few losses during the regular season. The only wrestlers who defeated Arant last year were placers and state qualifiers. Some of these losses came when he stepped up to a higher weight class.He lost to several who were state champions in higher weight classes.

The goal for his senior year is clear. “I’m hoping to make it back to state and win this time,” said Arant. “Hopefully, I won’t be bothered by my shoulder surgery.”

His father has a right to be proud. “We watched him come into his own and become a very independent, very fine young man. There’s great coaching. He got it from wresting because of the discipline and training.”

 

 

It’s almost a reflex. You step through the door at the Goldon House Gallery on Bay Street in Beaufort and your jaw just drops. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before – an aweinspiring collection of authentic Chinese antique furniture – everything from tables and chairs to rice bowls and a baby’s bath bucket, and so much more. It’s everything you can imagine and beyond.

Look around a bit more and you see original artwork by the gallery’s owner, Vincent Golshani. Golshani is a master with color and form. His paintings sell for many thousands of dollars and they are the most popular items in the gallery.

The Chinese antiques come mainly from the Three Gorges Dam area on the Yangtze River which flooded in 1954 and again in 1998. Millions of people were evacuated leaving behind a treasure trove of antiques. Golshani was one of only 37 dealers who were able to go into temples and homes and buy this furniture. These genuine artifacts are between 100 and 300 years old. The exact age or century of each piece is not always known but the gallery guarantees that any antique purchased there is at least a century old.

Your charming host greets you with a warm welcome. Her name is Morgan Starling. She is the general manager of this newly opened Beaufort location, dovetailing with the original Savannah gallery run by Golshani himself.

Golshani and Starling have known each other for about two years. “We said we were always going to open a gallery together and that I would be the general manager,” said Starling. “We would laugh about it. In December we finally made a commitment and here we are.”

Both Golshani and Starling have always loved Beaufort. “There’s nothing like this in the area,” said Starling. “We thought it would bring so much ‘edge’ to the street. We have a lot of customers around here.”

Starling said she doesn’t think customers really know what they’re walking into. “They just walk in and go ‘wow.’” Strangely enough, the customers coming through the door are almost all tourists visiting Beaufort. “We don’t do a lot with locals,” said Starling. She said that about 90 – 95 percent of her business is tourists. “We ship all over the country.” The same is true of the Savannah gallery.

Golshani’s paintings are all originals. He paints the first of a particular series and incorporates his trademark “face” image. He then makes seven copies of the original work but they do not have the face integrated into it, just a signature. Nevertheless, each copy is actually an original because he paints all the copies himself, so no copy is exactly the same as another. All art sold in the Goldon House Gallery is Vincent Golshani’s work. The art is the most popular of all the items in the gallery.

The Savannah location has a huge warehouse, complete with its own manager, and sends the pieces to the Beaufort gallery as they get them. Everything has been cleaned up but nothing has been refurbished. “If, for example, an item comes in missing a handle, we will replace that but other than that, everything is in the original state as Vincent has found it,” said Starling. Nothing has actually been in the flood itself. These items came out of their places before the water could get to them.

Starling’s interest in the gallery business stems, at least in part, from her own sales background. She was in dental sales for a year-and-a-half before coming to Goldon House. “I have a sales background, and I felt like in dental sales it was all about the numbers and meeting quotas,” she said. “I feel like we have something interesting here to sell to people. People leave here smiling; some leave here crying because they’re so happy with their piece of art or furniture.” Starling said her real motivation is that she likes to make people feel good and give them what they want. “It brings me joy to see people happy,” she said. “When they walk out of our door they’re happy.”

The Beaufort Gallery opened this past June 22. “It’s a place that I come to that I don’t consider a job,” said Starling. “It is a job but it’s a happy place for me. I get to meet people from so many walks of life and hear their stories. It’s very interesting.”

The prices on the antiques are incredibly reasonable. What you might pay for a similar modern piece will buy a comparable item in the gallery, but you have an antique, well made, in excellent condition, with 100 – 300 years of provenance. “We get that a lot from our customers that we’re on the low end of pricing. We’re happy to be able to make the customer happy.”

Interspersed throughout the Chinese collection are African artifacts, such as tribal masks and ceremonial carvings of animals, all authentic.

Golshani goes to China several times per year to buy his stock. “We are expecting a container in August that will bring between 15,000 and 17,000 pieces,” said Starling. “I think I get first pick since this is the new gallery.” Starling said she plans to select more pieces with color to them to lend some additional brightness and contrast to the new gallery.

As for the future, Starling says the plan is to expand the operation up and down the southeastern coast. “We just want to see it boom and then branch out to Charleston and Jacksonville and just keep opening galleries.

” The jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring experience awaits anyone who comes through the door at Goldon House Gallery. It’s almost like a trip to a small museum but the fascinating displays are for sale at reasonable prices. It’s a chance to own a genuine piece of world history or an amazing original painting that is a product of Golshani’s greatness.