• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

Story By Cindy Reid   Photos by Susan DeLoach

Something sensational is coming to town and it’s going to be a blockbuster! The Beaufort Film Society is presenting an eight-week series of films with the catchy name of ‘Shorts at High Noon.’ From the first Wednesday in October through Wednesday, November 29, the Beaufort Film Society will present films from its vast collection of short films, student films and animation films. The collection consists of submissions to the Beaufort International Film Festival over the last ten years, from 2007 to present and contains everything from audience hits to hidden gems.

     Ron Tucker, President of the Beaufort Film Society, says they wanted to create a showcase for some of the many Beaufort International Film Festival films, giving viewers a chance to see a film they may have missed the first time around, or enjoy a second viewing of a favorite film.

     Ron says the idea for the new series came while he and wife Rebecca, VP of the Beaufort Film Society, were attending a popular local cultural event. He says “Rebecca and I attended a ‘Books Sandwiched In’ program at the University of South Carolina in Beaufort and we were struck by the large audience turnout. This got us to thinking that we could do something similar with films, a ‘Movie Sandwiched In’ style program. And so we came up with ‘Shorts at High Noon.’“

     The film program will consist of at least one short, one animation and one student film. The weekly program is always one hour long, so each film had to be chosen carefully for time limits as well as content.

     All screenings will take place at the Plaza Stadium Theatre, 41 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort, SC from noon to 1:00 pm. Arrive early as check in time will be 11:30am. And the best part- admission is free!

     Ron says, “Thanks to the generosity of Paul Trask, the theatre owner, we are able to provide the series at absolutely no charge to the community.”

     Adding to the excitement, several filmmakers will be attending the screenings of their film. VW Scheich will be on hand for the screening of his award winning film, Wallenda, which was a huge audience favorite, on Oct 18. Another filmmaker scheduled to attend is Tracy de Leon from the Student Film Danny Freud. Most of the filmmakers are located too far away to make it to Beaufort, so Ron and Rebecca  came up with a great idea. He says, “We hope to be able to have a handful of filmmakers attend via video, so we can do a ‘where are they now’ segment after their film screening.”

     Ron and Rebecca can be called Beaufort’s Film Ambassadors for their tireless work on behalf of the lowcountry’s film community. Since 2004, with the creation of the Beaufort Regional Film Commission, and subsequent founding of the Beaufort Film Society in 2009, they have sought opportunities to shine the spotlight on Beaufort and the surrounding Sea Islands. They recently spoke to an audience of filmmakers at the Carolina, Film Network in Columbia and previously spoke with aspiring writers and filmmakers at Furman University in Greenville, SC where they were able to share their knowledge and experience about BIFF’s history and future growth.

     Ron says, “We love spreading the word about BIFF, filmmaking in the state of South Carolina, and what the Lowcountry can offer filmmakers.”

     They  will also be busy teaching a class this fall and spring at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI),  where they will discuss the history of BIFF and the benefits of being part of the Beaufort Film Society.   Included in their presentation is a recap of the growing pains, and why many filmmakers consider acceptance at BIFF as a critical confirmation of their work.

Beaufort Film Society

Truly a lowcountry treasure, the Beaufort Film Society (BFS) is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3, member-supported organization, which is dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry.  Through the Beaufort International Film Festival and other programs, coupled with fun and thought-provoking events and series, the BFS provides the sea island community with a commitment to entertainment, outreach and education through film. Their dedicated members, along with volunteers and staff, make all of this possible. Anyone is eligible for membership, and becoming a member includes many year-round benefits such as advance ticket sales and discounts on screenings, services and products; discounts and advance enrollment for professional development classes and networking events; and invitations to special preview screenings. If you love film, join the BFS for a world of opportunity all year long.


The Beaufort Film Society’s biggest event is, of course, the annual Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF). MovieMaker Magazine listed BIFF as one of the Top 25 “Coolest” Film Festivals in the World in 2013 and most recently, Film Freeway, ranked BIFF as the #9 Best Reviewed film festival in the world and #1 in South Carolina. The twelfth annual Beaufort International Film Festival will be held Feb 21- 25, 2018. For further information about the film festival, special events, the film society or the complete schedule for ‘Shorts at High Noon’, check out beaufortfilmfestival.com.

The Beaufort Film Society and the Beaufort International Film festival can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Shorts at High Noon

Where: Plaza Stadium Theatre, 41 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort, SC.

When: Check in time is 11:30am. Program starts at 12:00 Noon and ends at 1:00 PM

Tickets: Admission is free. Concessions will be available for sale.

Schedule of Films

OCT 4: Pardon the Intrusion (Short), At Ease (Student), Splash (Animation)

OCT 11: A Letter From Home (Short), Swipe Right (Student), Almost Everest (Animation)

 OCT 18: Wallenda (Short), Perspective (Student), Grounded (Animation)

OCT 25: Mia (Short), Love Sick Lonnie (Short), Shut Up and Kiss Me (Student)

NOV 1: The Deadbeat (Short), Great Personality is Only Skin Deep (Short), Detention (Short), Death and the Robot (Animation)

 NOV 8: Birthday (Short), Danny Freud (Student), My Light is Gone (Animation)

 NOV 15: Clown Nose Theory (Short), The Collegians (Student), Light Me up (Animation)

 NOV 29: Another Love (Short), Long John (Student), Sebastian’s Voodoo (Animation)

Story By Maura Connelly, Pat Conroy Literacy Center

The second annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival will be held October 19 -22 at USCB’s Center for the Arts, celebrating the transformative power of education. Few people embody this theme with as much passion and grace as educator Dr. William Dufford. Teacher. Coach. Principal. Superintendent. He has assumed all of these mantles in varied venues: classrooms; playing fields; school hallways. It was his role as mentor  that took on a mythical quality for so many of his students, especially his years  at Beaufort High School in the early 1960s. For the students of the era, these were the “Camelot” years. They also included the arrival of one of BHS’s most famous graduates, Pat Conroy.

     Pat Conroy arrived in Beaufort in 1960 at the age of 15, and entered BHS for what would be his junior and senior years. He came to the lowcountry as an insecure and fragile young man, but he would graduate a confident citizen and as president of his class. After years of parochial schooling and rigid classrooms, Pat had finally arrived at a school that welcomed him and fostered his burgeoning literary interests. And at the center of this new universe was principal Bill Dufford. “I was in the middle of a childhood being raised by a father I didn’t admire. In a desperate way, I needed the guidance of someone who could show me another way of becoming a man. It was sometime during that year when I decided I would become the kind of man that a whole town could respect and honor and fall in love with – the way Beaufort did when Bill Dufford came to town to teach and shape and turn their children into the best citizens they could be,” wrote Conroy in the essay “The Summer I Met My First Great Man” appearing in A Lowcountry Heart and first delivered as an awards ceremony introduction for Dr. Dufford.

     Pat graduated from Beaufort High School as president of his class, “Best All Around,” a member of student council, the literary magazine, and the National Honor Society. He was also voted Mr. Congeniality. It was Bill Dufford who shaped and guided his new world, the man who held the torch for Pat.  “When you went to Bill Dufford’s school, the one thing you knew was that you were one of his kids, and…[that] you had a responsibility to your school because it was your community, your part of the world,” Conroy told a group of USC students in a 1995 address. “I never saw anyone get this across better. And I went into teaching because of Bill Dufford, because he had convinced me that there was no way a human being could live upon this earth and do anything better than to teach young people. It affected me and I’m simply one of the hundreds it affected.”

     And Pat did go on to teach, emulating many of his BHS mentors. After graduating high school, Pat went to college at the Citadel, graduating in 1967. He taught for two years at BHS before his storied year as the first white school teacher on Dafauskie Island, which became the inspiration for his book The Water Is Wide. In the book, Pat describes teaching as a noble endeavor and shares Dufford’s view on education “as holy a profession as the priesthood. It was one of his greatest gifts that he [Dufford] could convey his sense of mission about education to the kids who came under his jurisdiction. A whole tribe of us went into teaching because of his influence.”

     Pat was just one of thousands of students who came under Bill Dufford’s influence. Leighton Cubbage, another former student of Dufford’s in Sumter, describes Dufford’s “raw leadership” in Dufford’s forthcoming memoir, My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist’s Memoir, in collaboration(see sidebar). “Dufford’s attitude [about school] of joy, happiness, love, and inclusivity is what makes organizations work best. That’s the right type of fuel to drive any culture. People can talk about that ideal inside a church or in a pew, but there’s a guy who had the courage to do it in a school.”

     The best summation of Dr. Dufford’s passion for the empowerment of education, the passion for teaching, and the role of surrogate parenting also comes from Pat Conroy, by way of a letter written to Dufford in the summer of 1968 and rediscovered in October 2016. “Everything I have done since leaving Beaufort has been a reflection of the summer I spent with you digging those damn ditches and painting those damn bookcases. I have never understood the dynamics of hero worship – maybe it was the discovery of the father I never had as a youth and finally found in you, a father who was not only stern but tender, a father of both the storm and the sun. It is important for you to know this effect you have had and I believe you know it but in the shortness and horrible brevity of life I want to get everything said – everything. This is immortality. For what I have learned from you I will pass on, and it will be passed on, and it will be passed on and passed on.”

     William Dufford will make two appearances at this year’s Pat Conroy Literary Festival. He will join others from Pat’s BHS days in a panel discussion on  Thursday, October 19, 5:30 – 6:30 at Beaufort Middle School (2501 Mossy Oaks Road).  He will also be in conversation with another former BHS student, attorney Carl B Epps III, at USCB’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 21, 6:15 – 7:15 pm, following the festival’s performance of the musical Conrack. Following both events, Dr. Dufford will sign copies of My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist’s Memoir.

William Dufford, now retired, served as a school principal in Georgetown, Beaufort and Sumter and later as the superintendent of schools in York. He also served as an educational consultant for the Boston school system and as the director of field services for the University of South Carolina Center for Integrated Education. Dufford has been recognized with the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities and the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor. He remains actively involved in Newberry College’s annual Dufford Diversity and Inclusiveness Week and in the Newberry Opera House’s Dufford Center for Cultural Diversity.

     The Pat Conroy Literary Festival is the signature event of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, presented in partnership with the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts. For Tickets: 843.521.4145 or www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org uscbcenterforthearts.com

Story by Julie Hales     Photos By Susan DeLoach

The Town of Port Royal has a Council/Manager form of government. This way of government is also referred to as the Town Manager Plan.

     The daily activities of Port Royal government are under the supervision of a professional manager. Under this system, the professional manager reports directly to the mayor and council.

     The man at the helm of this government is Van Willis, Town Manager of Port Royal.

     Under the leadershipof Willis, Port Royal is recognized as one of America’s leaders in small town New Urbanism. They aspire to continue to be the best place to live, work and play in South Carolina’s Low Country by preserving a superior quality of life for today’s residents and for future generations.

     Port Royal takes a tremendous amount of pride in their natural environment and the accessibility to that environment through their network of walking trails, community beach, the boardwalk and observation tower.

     Port Royal is also booming with business opportunities. The recent sale of the port brings nothing but more exposure to current businesses and the start-ups of more businesses to come.

     The sale of the port, coupled with the location of Port Royal, is sure to bring nothing but good things to the current residents and businesses. Located centrally within the Parris Island Gateway and adjacent to both the City of Beaufort and the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, Port Royal positions their local businesses directly in the heart of area commerce.

     This sale brings many new things to area. And, Van Willis is the man to make sure this transition happens smoothly.

     Willis was born in Savannah and raised in Charleston. He and his family moved to Port Royal in August of 2002, when Willis took the job as the Town Manager.

     He holds an Undergraduate degree from Presbyterian College, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.

     He is married to wife, Jodie Willis and they own the Little Brown School in Port Royal.  The have three children, Davis, 14, Guerin, 11 and Saida, 8.

      In Willis’ 15 years as Town Manager, the biggest changes he has seen have been population and growth.  He says,” We have seen significant population and growth, but the Town is finally getting some recognition for the unique place it is.  Much of what makes the ‘Beaufort area’ what it is, is actually in Port Royal. We would like to see that recognized by businesses and the press.”

      “We offer our residents a truly authentic town experience, while also offering access to the natural environment. All with the quirkiness that is Port Royal,” adds Willis.

      When it comes to taking care of the merchants in Port Royal, Willis praises his staff.  He says,” The Town staff is probably one of the more business friendly municipal staffs they will encounter.  We strive to be prompt and available.  If our merchants have a question, we can get them in, almost immediately, with the town staff, and  they will be guided through the process.”

     As Town Manager, Willis handles an array of tasks, all in a day’s time.  He shares, “I handle the day to day administrative management of the Town.  I could be dealing with the potential redevelopment of the port, which will be in the neighborhood of $200,000,000 when it is done, to handling a resident’s complaint about their neighbor’s dog, all within 15 minutes.”

     When Willis has some down time, if there is such a thing for a Town Manager, He is happy driving his kids around Beaufort County to attend various activities and sports-related practices.  Other than that, he and his family spend a lot of time on the water.

     Beaufort Lifestyle conducted a Question and Answer session with Van Willis about the sales of the port. Here are his answers:

BL: When will the sale be final?

VW: It was closed on September 20.

BL: Who are the new owners of the port?

VW: Grey Ghost Properties, LLC

BL: What affect does the sale of the ports have on the Town of Port Royal?

VW: It provides the residents of the town access to probably the jewel property in Port Royal.  We have not had real access to that property for decades. It is an opportunity for long-time residents and business owners to realize that their commitment to the Town is bearing the fruit that they anticipated.

BL: When do you anticipate the new owners to start construction on the waterfront?

VW: They have already begun cleaning up the property, and I expect commercial activity in either first or second quarter of 2018.

BL:  Do they have a projected completion date?

VW: This is probably a 5-10 year project for buildout.

BL:  What are the plans for the redevelopment of the ports by the new owners?

VW: It is truly a mixed use redevelopment; single family, some multi-family, a dry stack, a marina, possibly two hotels, s significant variety of commercial, including shops, restaurants, and a number of parks.

BL: What is their first area of redevelopment?

VW: They intend to get the dry stack up and running and reopen the restaurant adjacent to the shrimp docks.

BL:  Have the existing merchants in the Old Village shown excitement for the new development?

VW:I think they have all been waiting as patiently as they can.  The redevelopment process will take time; however, the sheer level of associated activity should be quite beneficial to existing businesses.

BL:  Do you feel we will have more small businesses opening in the Town of Port Royal?

VW:Absolutely, the port redevelopment provides a destination that should draw visitors to the Town.

BL:  What do you see happening to the existing small businesses now in Port Royal?

VW: Hopefully, they will flourish.  We expect the activity of the port to push that excitement up Paris Avenue.

BL:Will the sale of the port affect our natural environments…like the walking trials, community beach, the boardwalk and observation tower?

VW: The redevelopment plan includes 15 plus acres of open space, which includes several parks and a waterfront promenade.  It will also incorporate the Spanish Moss Trail, allowing it to finally cross Ribaut Road.  The Trail will tie into the existing boardwalk and observation tower.

BL: Will our local boaters and fish tours be affected by the sale?

VW: Hopefully, only positively.  We think the property will offer boaters more waterfront dining and activity experiences.

BL: How do you think this sale will affect Real Estate in Port Royal?

VW: We saw significant increases when the port first went on the market during the height of the real estate market back in the mid 2000’s.  We hope it doesn’t get that ridiculous again, but we are anticipating increased values and activity.

Community Impact: United We Win

United Way of the Lowcountry

United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC) continues to evolve.  While the organization works to help meet the immediate needs of our neighbors, they are also looking ahead to reduce future needs and create lasting, positive change in our community through Community Impact.  As they make the shift to their new model, UWLC is focusing on four priority areas including basic needs, education, health and income/family stability to address the root causes of key issues identified by the community.

     Chrystie Turner, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of the Lowcountry, explains implementing the new Community Impact model has been a decade long process involving researching best practices and garnering community feedback to help create an effective model, tailored to our unique community.  “United Way of the Lowcountry felt so strongly about community support that we hired an independent facilitator to conduct a series of open community conversations, said Turner. “After knowing what issues the community wanted us to focus on moving forward, we gathered current partner agencies and other key stake holders to help us create common goals and outcomes for the four priority areas that allow us to measure the impact of our donor’s investment.”

     While the Community Impact model is being fully implemented, the review process used in determining funding is a signature process of United Way of the Lowcountry and remains intact through their Community Impact Committee.  Funding decisions are made local by this committee, which is comprised of volunteers and community members who donate to UWLC.  These volunteers help determine how undesignated United Way Annual Campaign donations will be distributed to local agencies and services throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties to make a lasting impact. “By moving from a Community Investment model of funding to Community Impact, United Way of the Lowcountry is ensuring donors’ contributions are supporting programs that create lasting change in our community’s condition, while continuing to fund direct services to help those with immediate needs, says Becky Francis, Community Impact Committee Chair.  “My involvement over the last few years in this process to change to Community Impact has been the most rewarding job in both my career in business and as a volunteer because I see the difference it is making in our community.”

Who can become a volunteer on the Community Impact Committee? 

     No experience is needed to serve on the Community Impact Committee. Anyone who donates to United Way of the Lowcountry has the opportunity to serve on the committee and help determine what programs will provide our community with the greatest impact. “We want to ensure that our donors are the ones helping make these important funding decisions,” said Turner.

What is the time commitment to serve on the Community Impact Committee?

     The first step is a two-hour training session, where UWLC prepares volunteers on how to review an application and what items are most important when evaluating funding decisions.

      Based on availability and interest, volunteers will be assigned to a panel responsible for reviewing funding applications for up to 3 agencies.  These panels are filled with volunteers, who want to make a difference in their community.  After volunteers have selected a panel to serve on and have been trained, they will then have the opportunity to do site visits at local agencies applying for funding, where they will meet with the agency’s Executive Director and the Board Chair. “I encourage donors who are interested in learning more about the Community Impact process to get involved and become a volunteer, says Francis. “It’s a great way to see your dollars at work.”

Interested in becoming a Community Impact Volunteer?

Contact Chrystie Turner at cturner@uwlocountry.org or call (843) 379-3067 for more information.

The 2017 Gamecocks will represent the University of South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks will be led by Will Muschamp, back for his second year as head coach.

    Quarterback Jake Bentley is back to lead the Gamecocks’ attack and is one of 10 returning starters on offense. The defense also gets a big boost with the return of linebacker Skai Moore, who missed all of 2016 because of a neck injury. Moore’s presence will certainly help a unit that desperately needs to find a pass rush and features a secondary that has experience but must become more reliable. South Carolina should at least be competitive in every game this season. How many games the Gamecocks win and where they fall in the SEC East standings will likely depend on whether or not the offense takes a small or significant step forward.

    For the first time in his five-year head-coaching career, Will Muschamp seems to have found the answer at quarterback. Bentley started seven games last year after skipping his senior season at Opelika (Ala.) High School to join the Gamecocks. Bentley threw for 1,420 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

    South Carolina has got to get their defense on a roll.  Last season they were 92nd in the nation in sacks with 21. And, believe it or not, things could get worse this year. They must replace both defensive ends, including Darius English, who led the team with 9.0 sacks in 2016.

   Muschamp and his coaching staff took over a roster so depleted that some of the struggles of the 2016 can hardly be held against them. Year 2 is a different story. The Gamecocks should build on the offensive momentum established with Bentley at the helm in the last half of 2016, but the defense will be tested by this year’s thin group.

     Their schedule this year’s starts with NC State and then on to Missouri for their second game.  Week 3 they will be battling it out with Kentucky.

About the Head Coach:

William Larry Muschamp was born August 3, 1971. He is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach at the University of South Carolina. He was previously the head coach at the University of Florida from 2011 to 2014.

     Muschamp has built a reputation for his strong defenses and his intense demeanor during games and practice. In his second season as defensive coordinator at Auburn, Muschamp was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award for the most outstanding assistant coach in college football. Prior to accepting the job at Florida, the University of Texas had announced that Muschamp would eventually succeed Mack Brown as head coach of the Longhorns and designated him the “head coach in waiting.”

     Muschamp was born in Rome, Georgia, but grew up in Gainesville, Florida. He attended Martha Manson Academy elementary school and Oak Hall High School in Gainesville. His family moved back to Rome, where his father became the headmaster of the Darlington School, where he graduated from high school. Muschamp played football, basketball, baseball and ran track for the Darlington Tigers.

     Muschamp attended the University of Georgia in Athens. He walked on to the Georgia Bulldogs football team and played safety from 1991 to 1994. Muschamp graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in 1994.

     After graduating from Georgia, Muschamp became a graduate assistant coach at Auburn University. He earned a master’s degree in education from Auburn in 1996.

     On December 6, 2015, Muschamp was announced as the 34th head football coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Muschamp went 6-7 in his first season as head coach of the Gamecocks.

    Muschamp’s wife Carol is from Thomaston, Georgia. They have two sons, Jackson and Whit. His brother Mike Muschamp is the head football coach at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia who led the team to a state championship in 2013.

Chairman of the State Athletic Commission

Story By Cindy Reid     Photos By Paul Nurnberg

Beaufort’s own Will McCullough was recently reelected to a second term as the Chairman of the South Carolina State Athletic Commission. The Athletic Commission licenses and regulates professional and amateur combative sports, including mixed martial arts (“MMA”), boxing, kickboxing, professional wrestling and “toughman” contests, that take place anywhere in the state of South Carolina.

 “I have been heavily involved with martial arts and combat sports my entire life, Will says, “and in late 2013, I was appointed by Governor Haley to fill a vacancy on the Commission. This led to a Senate Confirmation Hearing in early 2014 and, by summer 2014, my appointment was approved by the full senate and I began serving on the board.”

     “The state Athletic Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the South Carolina senate, who serve four-year terms. We meet on a regular basis, making decisions and holding hearings as necessary.” Will says, “I was elected to the Vice Chairman position by my fellow commissioners after my first year on the Board and was subsequently elected Chairman one year later. I was honored to be reelected Chairman just last month and am now looking forward to another term of serving the fighting community of South Carolina. The Athletic Commission is made up of some really great people, with an eclectic variety of successful backgrounds in fighting, law, medicine and business, all of whom share a genuine desire to see the state’s combat sport community grow and thrive while simultaneously enhancing fighter safety.”


     Will’s love and appreciation of the combative sports goes back, way back, to his childhood in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. It was a childhood spent in a small rural town of dirt roads that had one drive-in movie theater for entertainment.

      “I come from a long line of athletes, my Dad played a bit of pro baseball before I was born, my uncle was a Commissioner for the SEC football conference and both of my older brothers were great athletes in their own right.” “But,” Will pauses and says, “My Dad died of a heart attack at age 46 when I was just 13 years old, and it was suddenly just me and my Mom. Without my Dad and with my two older brothers now both adults, we went from being a household of five to a household of just two. That‘s when I started to really focus on martial arts. For me, martial arts classes and, quite frankly, fighting in a controlled environment specifically, was an effective way to channel rage. And I had a lot of it.”

     Will says it was the best path he could have taken because “My Mom ended up passing away very early as well, just shortly after I graduated high school and joined the USMC. The martial arts, in general, have made me who I am. They’ve been a positive force for me, providing a foundation, decades deep, for the person I was to become. I don’t honestly think I’d have been able to keep from imploding without that outlet.”

     Will put his martial arts training to effective use in the United States Marine Corps, where he served for ten years.

     During his time in the USMC, he was a Combat Engineer, Senior Drill Instructor and Close Combat Instructor. Like many others, the Marine Corps brought Will to Beaufort by way of Parris Island. After ten years of service, Will felt that he was ready to move on to the next chapter in his life, now with his wife, Deena, by his side, and begin raising a family.

     A little background– Will and Deena first met in 1995 in a fairly unique fashion. Will was driving from Parris Island to Pennsylvania and Deena was driving from Florida to Ohio. They passed on I-77 in North Carolina. She passed him, he looked over and smiled, she waved and the rest was history. They have been married now for twenty years and are the proud parents of two children, 18-year-old daughter Keara, now attending her first year at the University of South Carolina, and 11-year-old Cooper, a 6th grader at Bridges Prep.

     He says, “In 1997 we decided to make Beaufort our permanent home and opened the McCullough Submission Fighting School. The school did really well and then, several years later in 2003, due to a combination of my own ongoing issues with past personal injuries coupled with the increasing demands of our growing local real estate interests, we passed the school’s ownership on to two of our top students, Abe and Rebecca Stem.  That school, now called “Beaufort MMA,” continues to do quite well locally under Abe’s continued guidance.  After parting with the school, Deena and I continued pursuing our interest in both real estate and business.” Currently the McCullough’s own and operate EquitySafe Realty, LLC, located on Lady’s Island.


     “I have always focused solely on fight related sports. “ Will laughs, “Believe it or not, I only recently saw my first ever football game just a few years ago and that was only because my daughter joined the varsity cheer team at Beaufort High. My school was too small and poor to have a football team and I went to the USMC as opposed to college.  Football and other traditional team sports have frankly just never appealed to me.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I can enjoy a good hockey game.  But my honest definition of “good” is measured in direct relation to the number of fights that break out on the ice!”

      “Bottom line, the combat arts are what has made me who I am. However, at this point in life, due to an unsurprising cornucopia of injuries, I just can’t get in there and train the same way I used to. That’s why I love serving on the state Athletic Commission. It allows me the vehicle to be involved and to give back, both to the fighting community I love and to the state that has given my family so many wonderful opportunities in life.”  He says, “Serving both my state and sport is a real privilege.”

     “South Carolina is starting to become a beacon of light for the combative sports in the southeastern United States and our athletic commission is working very hard to set the bar high for both service to our fighting community and for ensuring fighter safety.  For example, just this past April, we sanctioned South Carolina’s first ever nationally televised MMA event via the Legacy Fighting Alliance on AXS-TV. In addition, South Carolina has now become the first state in the union to sanction “2 on 2” mixed martial arts via Arena Combat out of Myrtle Beach.”

     Will says, “The combat sports momentum continues to build across South Carolina with multiple events being held nearly every month across the state by a great assortment of local, regional and national level promotions.  It’s our goal to do everything we can to embrace, enhance and encourage that growth while simultaneously ensuring that safety is kept as the top priority. It’s a lot of fun.”


     “I love Beaufort” says Will.” I love every aspect, from the downtown to the oak trees draped with Spanish moss, from the water to the sand, from the people to the places.  I love every “Norman Rockwell meets Forrest Gump” aspect of it, I truly do.” Sounding like a Marine he states, with a grin, “Under no circumstances will we ever leave Beaufort.”

     Regarding his goals Will says, “Real estate has been very good to us and our unique EquitySafe Realty model has proven itself to be exceptionally popular. Now that we are in our new offices and are beginning to add new agents we are excited to embark on the journey of further growing our brand across the state.”

     Then the tough martial arts expert, former Marine drill instructor and Chairman of the state’s athletic commission says, “I still have many specific goals to accomplish, both in real estate and with the Athletic Commission, but I’ll share my secret life-long end game plan with you. I fully intend to retire a little early, so I can be Santa Claus. I love kids and I love Christmas, so yes, in all seriousness, that’s the plan. You will see me, in full jolly-ness, at a future parade and or department store.”Speaking for all of Beaufort we certainly look forward to that day Will!

Chris Lovelace

Taking our Youth UPWARD in SPORTS

 Story By Julie Hales     Photos By Susan DeLoach

Upward Sports is one of the world’s largest Christian youth sports providers.  It is based out of Spartanburg South Carolina. Upward Sports is designed for kids in grades K5-8, offering four sports programs, basketball, flag football, soccer and cheerleading. This sports program helps young athletes create a passion for which ever sport they are involved in. Upwards promotes sportsmanship with a healthy competitive spirit.

     For a children’s pastor looking to reach the kids in the community, sports is a great way to do that.  Upward Sports is a great avenue to accomplish this goal.

     Five years ago, Chris Lovelace was the children’s pastor for Praise Assembly of God. And, he knew that sports would be a good way to reach kids…sports had reached him at an early age as well.

     “Sports played a big part in my life, since I was a kid on through my collegiate career. I had heard about Upward Sports before and begin to explore the opportunity to bring it here to Beaufort. In my research, I found out there was a church here in Beaufort already doing the program and doing it very well,” shares Chris.

     Cornerstone Church in Beaufort was host for the program for years and it was under the leadership of Brian and Tammy Gates. “We partnered with Cornerstone Church, as they began to outgrow their current facility five years ago. Then, we started hosting Upward here at Praise Assembly,” Chris says.

     Chris Lovelace has been in Beaufort for seven years. He is originally from  Apex, North Carolina.  He came to the lowcountry after being hired as the Children’s Pastor at Praise Assembly of God, where he currently serves as  the Associate Pastor.

     Chris is married to Donna Lovelace, who works for the Beaufort County school system.  They have two children, Ben, age 6 and Sophia, who is 5 years old.

     After spending the last 5 years working with the Upward Sports programs, Chris is proud to say that they have over 100 kids from the community involved each season. He says, “Our programs are open to all the kids in our community. They do not have to attend Praise Assembly. We have kids that go to other churches and some that don’t go to church at all. We want the community to know our doors are always open here at Praise Assembly.”

     Upward Sports  offers four sports:  basketball, soccer, flag football and cheerleading. They currently offer soccer in the fall and flag football in the spring.

     Upward Sports is very hands on with the kids.  It is important to have enough people on board to make sure all of the kids are getting the proper guidance and instruction.  Currently, the program has over 50 volunteers.

     Chris has coached before being involved with Upward Sports in similar programs. “We are excited about the program here and are more excited about adding more sports over the years. Upward Sports is here to stay at Praise Assembly. There just isn’t another program that offers what this program  does. Having only one practice a week and a one hour game on Saturday is attractive for the parents and is very family friendly. I feel that sports should be a positive experience for both the parents and kids and that is exactly what Upwards offers,” he adds.

     Chris Lovelace is very passionate about Upward Sports.  Chis Lovelace is very passionate about kids.  He sums it up very nicely, “ I love working with the kids. It is great to help them develop and grow over the years. To know we have the opportunity as a church to impact these kids in a positive way is exciting. Hopefully, they will carry this experience with them throughout their life and sports careers. It’s exciting when some of them want to come back and volunteer when they are older and out of the program. “

      For more information on Upward Sports, contact Chris Lovelace at

(843) 525-1121 or email him at pastorchris@pagbeaufort.com.

Louis  Bruce

If the door to my studio is open, it means come in.

Story By Mary Ellen Thompson     Photos By John Wollwerth

Louis Bruce started his career as a artist in photography. “I inherited a camera from my father. I always knew how I wanted things to look but there was always something, a fire hydrant, a power line, in the way. And I realized I could do a painting without those things.

I was never into photo-realism. When I first started to paint I ran into a long-time painter who said ‘I’m going to make your life easy. Start with an accurate picture, then mess it up.’ I’ve taken his advice,”.

     “Another technique I use is that I end up cropping paintings. I take them off the stretcher, cut them, and re-stretch. It’s a drive I have so that I can have the painting arranged in a way that pleases me. Sometimes I laminate the canvas to wood and then cut it with a table saw. Sometimes half is better. I’ve done some paintings that wound up to be two paintings.”

     “I usually start with a coat of under paint,” he explains as he points to a canvas with only one color, but a distinct pattern. “This is just a start; put a horizon in and you’ve got a painting.” I use the same color for the under paint, raw sienna, because I like a warm painting and if I let some of it come through, it also makes a nice skin tone. I’m also not just faced with a white canvas.”

     Referring to a canvas covered in raw sienna with an almost abstract shape, Louis isn’t sure yet if that painting resembling the figure of a woman is finished. “Look around my studio, there are how many, six, paintings of my wife? It’s a process; when you want to paint someone in particular, it’s a challenge.”

     One of his large seascapes was purchased for the restaurant Hearth. It is an extraordinary rendition of waves, just waves. And although Louis may not be into photo-realism, when you look at that painting you can almost taste salt, and hear a wave moving towards shore. Really good paintings of waves are difficult to come by; many lack the appropriate field of depth. Louis’ explanation of his accuracy is delivered with a broad smile and a laugh tinged with nostalgia, “I was a surfer forever. I have vast wave knowledge; I come by it honestly. I spent two years chasing waves on the north shore of Maui. After Maui, I spent some time surfing in Costa Rica.”

     Ok, let’s back up here for a second. How did he get from Maui to Beaufort? “I went to Hawaii after college; that was about a hundred years ago. I grew up in Santa Barbara. Both my parents were from South Carolina; my dad was a POW so I could go to a state school on the GI Bill. I went to the College of Charleston, where I was a biology major. After Hawaii, I came back to Charleston where I worked in the restaurant business and met my wife, Kit. Her dad was in the paving business, I worked for him, eventually took over that business and finally sold it. Then I started Palmetto Brewery with a partner; it was the first brewery in South Carolina in one hundred years.”

     “I did all the artwork for the labels and packaging; it wasn’t painting, but it was art. I worked in the brewery for ten years when I realized that my partner was running the business and didn’t really need me on the payroll.”

     Living in Mt. Pleasant at the time, Louis and Kit were buying and renovating houses in the Charleston area but they had branched out and bought a small house in Port Royal. In 2003 they moved to Beaufort, where Louis was able to devote his time to painting.

     Louis’ artistic desire was born in Florence Italy in 2004 when “We wanted to buy a painting for $1500 we saw hanging in a restaurant. The manager very excitedly said, ‘Great let me bring some wine!’ He had to call the artist first so we had to wait a while. He came back with ‘No, it’s my favorite.’ So I said ‘I’ll paint one myself’. That was nearly 1000 paintings ago. I took lessons, but I really was taught by a guy named Peter Rolfe. He’s a life long painter and he taught me everything.”

     In his studio, above Hearth, Louis says, “If the door is open, it means come in.” Up a steep flight of stairs, lies his wonderful space. “This is a perfect studio, it has reflected north light. It’s what they all want in Paris, that north light. I have a studio at home, but it’s better here. I can go down the street and get a cup of coffee, it’s like my big outing.”

Louis and Kit go to Italy for months at a time where he loves to paint. He takes his traveling easel, sets it up anywhere and paints. “I like Italy a lot. The first time we went to Rome and I did five paintings; this year we went for four months and I did thirty. We went to France on one of the trips and I wanted to paint from the bank of the Seine, where you see so many artists painting. I did a painting of Notre Dame. When I got home, I cut the painting in half and then moved Notre Dame to another part of the canvas.”

If Louis could be anywhere in the world where he could just walk out the door and paint, where would it be? “Italy, I like it a lot, even though my Spanish is better than my Italian. I have rudimentary Italian, the food is great, and we have friends there. But sometimes the answer is New York City. I like to go to Roosevelt Island where you’re across from the Manhattan skyline. I did a painting there that I brought back home and did as a triptych where all the panels are interchangeable.”

His paintings are for sale at McDonald Marketplace in Frogmore on Saint Helena Island which is a beautiful place that can showcase some of his larger pieces. He mostly paints scenery, “Landscapes sell, (paintings of) people stay. Big stuff is just like painting little stuff – you have to have an idea before you start. Sometimes I spend more time thinking about a painting, than I actually do painting it. Some artists take so long to do a painting that they want lots of money for it. I think the longer it takes, it’s not getting any better, so it has to go. Some of the best paintings I’ve ever done are paintings over old paintings.”

Louis’ art is unexpected. Some paintings are huge, some tall and thin, some landscapes, seascapes, figures, portraits, small paintings. Some have surprises like the series of oyster shells in which the oyster is the figure of a woman. “I price my art to sell,” he says. “I aspire to abstract. I did one large abstract, but it turned into a fish camp; I did a painting of an art gallery that became a landscape. I paint mostly in muted, rather than bright, colors.” When he’s not painting, Louis has enjoyed the Pat Conroy Literary Center talks he has attended; and he likes to cook. But mostly he’s thinking about painting.

The 2017 Clemson Tigers football team will represent Clemson University in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Tigers will be led by head coach Dabo Swinney in his ninth full year and tenth overall since taking over midway through 2008 season. They will play their home games at Memorial Stadium, also known as “Death Valley,” and will compete in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

   They will embark on the 2017 season with a hard-earned but potentially burdensome tag – defending national champs. Defending, chasing, contending – whatever the case, there’s no question that the Tigers have joined the exclusive club of college football elites.

   Under Coach Swinney’s guidance, the Tigers have won 70 games in the past six years, including a 35-31 victory against Alabama in the national title game in January for the program’s first championship in 35 years.

   Despite the loss of much of last season’s offensive firepower, including quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Mike Williams, tight end Jordan Leggett and running back Wayne Gallman, this team has the potential to make the playoffs for a third consecutive year. Much of Clemson success in 2017 will depend on who replaces Watson and Gallman.

   While the offense plays catch-up, Clemson’s strength, at least early in the season, will be built around a defense that returns seven starters. Defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are All-America candidates, and defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant are potential stars as well.

   This much is certain: It won’t take long for the Tigers to see what their shortcomings might be. After the opener, Clemson faces Auburn at home and then Louisville and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson on the road in Week 3.

About the Head Coach:

William Christopher “Dabo” Swinney was born November 20, 1969.  He is an American college football coach. He is the head football coach at Clemson University. Swinney took over as head coach for the Clemson Tigers midway through the 2008 season, following the resignation of Tommy Bowden. Swinney led the 2016 Clemson Tigers football team to a victory in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, capturing a national championship.

     Swinney was raised in Pelham, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama, where he joined the Crimson Tide football program as a walk-on wide receiver in 1989. He earned a scholarship and lettered on three teams (1990–1992), including the Crimson Tide’s 1992 National Championship team.
During his time as an undergraduate at Alabama, Swinney was twice named an Academic All-SEC and SEC Scholar Athlete Honor Roll member.  He received his degree in commerce and business administration in 1993 as well as a master’s degree in business administration from Alabama in 1995.

      In 2002, his former position coach at Alabama, Tommy Bowden, made Swinney an offer to become an assistant coach for the wide receivers at Clemson, and Swinney joined in 2003. He took over as Recruiting Coordinator from popular longtime coordinator Rick Stockstill.
Swinney proved to be both an excellent wide receivers coach as well as recruiting coordinator, coaching ACC-leading receivers and being named one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters in 2007 by Rivals.com.

     Swinney was named the interim head football coach on October 13, 2008, after previous head coach Tommy Bowden resigned six games into the 2008 season. He later became the permanent head coach.

    Swinney’s nickname was given to him as an infant by his parents when his then-18-month-old brother would try to enunciate “dat boi” when referring to Swinney He married the former Kathleen Bassett in 1994 and has three sons.