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Media Release

Mayor's "Honored Islander Award" Dinner

Release Date: April 20, 2018

Contact Information:
Phyllis Deiter email icon , Senior Adminstrative Assistant, 843-341-4700

Mayor David Bennett will recognize seven (7) Hilton Head Island residents at his semi-annual "Honored Islander Award" dinner being held on Monday, April 23, 2018, at 6:00 PM. The dinner is generously hosted by Brian Carmines of Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, located off Squire Pope Road on Skull Creek. The Honored Islanders attending the dinner were recognized at Town Council meetings held on January 16, 2018 and April 17, 2017, and are as follows:

Kathy Cramer
I thank Kathy Cramer for being a fierce advocate in improving the lives of special education athletes in Beaufort and Jasper County.  Kathy’s nurturing heart, as a retired special education teacher in our local school system for over 33 years, is now being shared with these young people. She exemplifies her generous spirit with volunteering her time with the Children’s Relief Fund Organization and the Special Olympics of the Low County- SOAR. The mission of SOAR (Special Olympics sports and recreation) is to level the playing field for the special needs people in our community. The commitment is to support people with disabilities in their pursuit to live, play and participate in the community. Kathy makes the distinction that it’s not just about participation in activities but participating together. The program, in partnership with the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, provides year-round training with activities such as equestrian, bowling, tennis, cheerleading and swimming. Being part of the SOAR team also means that Kathy provides all administrative duties, and coordinates the logistics for the activities and events. Her love for these children is infectious as Kathy leads fundraising events for the needs of these organizations. I thank you, Kathy, for your continued efforts to change the lives for many special athletes in our community, giving them a chance to engage in a healthy, active lifestyle with the opportunity to play together.

Carlton Dallas
It is an honor to recognize the work Carlton Dallas has done through various committees and organizations within our community. Having led a very successful career in the petroleum industry, Carlton has not let retirement slow him down. He quickly jumped in and began to concentrate on the cross cultural, developmental and educational needs of our area. Carlton is a member of the Heritage Tourism Taskforce, which has a two-fold mission to help preserve the heritage and character of the Island while addressing the re-development needed to keep moving forward with professionals, retirees and tourists. He is a Member of the Board of Directors for the local World Affairs Council and its Academic World Quest, a youth education program designed to help our younger generation learn about critical challenges facing the US and the world. He is an active member of the Greater Island Council which discusses various topics as safety, education, transportation, workforce development and cultural and social diversity. Carlton serves as a Board member with the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, the Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation and the Hilton Head Institute. Thank you Carlton, for your expertise and fresh perspective that is impacting our Island to a fuller cross-cultural understanding benefiting our community in meaningful ways for many years to come.

Doris (Dodi) Eschenbach
I thank Dodi Eschenbach for graciously giving her time to volunteer on our Island. Dodi has made it her mission to improve the quality of life in our community through her work with the Literacy Center. The Literacy Center has helped almost 10,000 adults reach their goal to equip those in need with the reading, writing, speaking and math skills required to be successful at work, home and in the community. Dodi has been a champion with fundraising by coordinating the Cooks and Books event.  In between the signed cookbooks, delicious food, and auction items, the event brings needed funds and attention to the Literacy Center.

Over the years, Dodi has been passionately involved in projects documenting the Island’s history from Pre-Civil War to modern Resort development. Working with the Heritage Library, she has donated many hours in the publication project, "Local Legends", and the National Historic designation of the Chapel of Ease. Dodi is also a very active member of a Woman’s group that is dedicated to documenting and promoting education on the people and places on our Island. The group's aim is to maintain a record of community engagements that sustains the Island and Low Country community.

Thank you Dodi for volunteering your time that continues to build and strengthen the concept of "One Island - One Community."

Elizabeth "Amanda" O’Nan
It is a pleasure to honor Amanda O’Nan as a leader in our educational community. Amanda currently is at the helm of the Hilton Head Island High School, serving as Principal of our Island's largest school. She is dedicated to our high school students, helping them to grow in knowledge, confidence and maturity. Amanda respects their individuality, and cares about their needs by inviting parents and students to call her cell phone any time of day or night with concerns or information that could help. Most recently, she worked with students to plan a "Walk In" at the school in solidarity with students from Stoneman High School in Texas to highlight students' concerns about gun control.  Amanda is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island, exemplifying the Rotary’s motto of "Service Above Self." Seldom does she come to a weekly Rotary Club meeting without inviting one of her students or staff members to join; bringing the community into the school and taking the school into the community. She is dynamic and pro-active in asking community leaders to come into the school to share information about professions and life; giving students navigational tools on how others have followed various paths to obtain goals. Amanda eagerly hosts community events, such as the Rotary Club's Safety Town event, and the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Program. It is truly amazing how she balances the job and her responsibilities of being the mother of three children, who are currently in the elementary and middle school. Thank you Amanda for continuing to go above and beyond, mentoring our younger generation to make the community a better place for all of us.

Margi Smith
Margie Smith is known for graciously giving her time to transforming children's lives in our community. She is an extraordinary volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club on Hilton Head Island.  You can count on Margie’s smiling face and willing attitude to mentor and tutor the Club children after school. Whether it be through their books, or games or just everyday conversations, for 27 years these children have known her as Miss Margie, someone who knows them and is there for them, always. In addition to her hands-on volunteer work, Margie chairs the "Gala", considered the longest-running, high profile fundraiser on Hilton Head Island. It features an auction with superior items such as excusive vacations and hard to find memorabilia. As a champion for this fundraising event, Margie keeps a hand on all details. It pays off in the end as this event is the source of one quarter of the annual budget for the Boys & Girls Club.

Margie is also an Honorary Board Member for the Hilton Head Heroes, a non-profit organization that helps very ill children and their entire family enjoy a vacation that would not ordinarily be possible. The organization comes together with the vision to make a difference in a family's life; offering them a moment to be a typical family experiencing our Island’s natural beauty, fun activities, fabulous food and a lifetime of memories. This is yet another example of how Margie is making positive changes in other people's lives. Thank you Margie for enriching those around you and inspiring others to do the same.

Benjamin Green and Annie Mae Miller
I want to thank Benjamin Green and Annie Mae Miller for graciously dedicating countless hours to the preservation and restoration of our Island cemeteries. After Hurricane Matthew, Ben and Annie Mae looked to meet the immediate needs of their community neighborhood. When the dust had settled, it was clear that the hurricane caused considerable damage to a local cemetery. Annie Mae and Ben combined forces and put their leadership and spirit into rebuilding the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church's Talbird Cemetery, located in Hilton Head Plantation along Skull Creek. It's one of our Island’s Gullah community cemeteries that date as far back as the 1700s. With generous fundraising success, they were able to restore the cemetery and create new relationships between Gullah families and the Hilton Head Plantation and Cypress Club communities. Building upon that success, Ben and Annie Mae want to continue to meet the need to upkeep, preserve and protect other Island cemeteries.

Thank you both for your efforts to preserve and protect countless numbers of our Gullah ancestor remains with respect. You have given our community a tranquil place to walk, reflect, and remember countless numbers of the buried Gullah ancestors and the incredible legacies they leave behind.

Note: Please note that a quorum of Town Council may result if four (4) or more of Town Council members attend this dinner.